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VOLUME THREE 



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i^bsti->sct from \VPA Project ?,874 
O.P. 65-?-o6o2 

SAN FR.\NCISCO, CALIFORNIA 
JANUARY 1937 



iloricsrauhs so far relf^aned in this f?e:.^ies: 



VOLUriE I. 

Introduction to Series 
Nahl Fa:nily 

VOLULiE II. 

Keith, Wii liara 
Hill, Tlioiaas 
Bierstadt, Albert 

VOLUME ill. 

Rosenthal, Tooy 
Tojetti Dominico 
Welch, Thaddeus 
Robinson, CViarles Dorman 

VOLUME IV. 

Tavern ier, Jules 
Carl sen, Ernil 
Joullin, AKedee 
Jorgensen, Chris 
Rix, Julian 
Williams, Virgil 

VOLUIjIE V. 

Withrow, Evelyn A. 
Richardson, Mar^y C. 
Rapha el , Jo s eph 
Grant, Cnarles 
Breur, Henry J, 
Atkins, Arthur 

VOLUME VI. 

Putnam, Arthur 
Aitken, Robert I. 
Tild.en, Douglas 
Cuminlngs, Earl 



Biography and Works 
Biography and Works 



Biogranhy and Works 



Biography and Works 



Bicp-rarihy and V/orks 



Biop;raphy ann Works 



Additional volumes in course of nrepara'^ion. 



Vol, III. 



MONOGRAPHS 



TOBY ROSENTHAL 

DOMINIGC TbJETTI j 

THADDEUS TOLCH ^ 

CHARLES DORkIAN "-ROBINSON 



Gen e Halley. E aitoiL 



Abstract from California Art Research 
W. P .Ji,,_P.roJ ec t_2874^__ 0.,Pi„65-^- 3632__ 



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TA3LS OF CONTENTS 

PAGES 

TOBY ROSENTI-iAL 1 

Kis Early E(?ucation and Art Training 2 

Opportunity Knocks at His Door. 3 

Toby G-oes to Europe 5 

His "Elaine" 7 

The Trial of Constance de Beverly 17 

Toby Liarried— 1380 20 

The Cardinal and Further Honors 20 

His Death in Munich 21 

Representative Works 22 

Bibliography. 23 

SIGNOR DOivIINICO TOJETTI 24 

Church Co"imisslons 24 

Eurooean Portraits 25 

To Guatemala 26 

Amusing Criticism - 27 

Classical V. S. California 28 

A Controve'-'sy by Critics 31 

His "Elaine" and Rosenthal ' s 33 

Poetic Appreciation in the '80' s 34 

Mansions and Fresco Painting 36 

One With His Era and Ideals 37 

His Sons Follow Art 38 

Representative Works , 40 

Bibl iography 41 

THADDEUS WELCH 42 

The Pioneer Craftsman and Artist 43 

The Inventor and Printer 45 

Western Ranching 46 

A Sketching Tour 47 

A Western Camp Fire 48 

Hunger in the Snow 49 

Snowshoes and Tramp Printing 50 

Welch Exhibits and Studies Abroad 50 

The Trailer-Studio of 1880 ' s 51 

Welch and Twachtmann and the Inn Keeper's Daughter,, 52 

The Flight, "A Trois" from Cruelty, 53 

The Marriaf-.-e 3,n Transit 54 

Away from Domestic Life and to U.S. A 55 

American Painters Accept ^arls and Munich Manners.. 56 

Welch's Second Marriage and Travels 57 

His Philosophy of Work 58 

Criticisms 60 

A Fraudulent Canvas 60 



TABLE OF CONTENTS (cont. ) 

PAGES 

Welch in Ivlarln County 62 

Prices and Patronage 63 

In the Time of Lincoln 64 

Pioneer Parentage. 65 

His Early Responsibilities 67 

His First "Tube Paints" 69 

California His Wonderland 70 

His Brief "Autobiography" 70 

Representative Works 72 

Bibliography 72 

CHARLES DORLIAN ROBINSON 73 

Early Training 75 

His Early Works 77 

Robinson in California. 80 

Robinson's Other Lines of Interest 82 

611 Clay Street 83 

Yosemite Panorama 84 

The San Francisco Fire of 1906 86 

Robinson ' s Philosophy of Work 89 

Robinson, Llan and Painter 90 

Representative Works 93 

Paintings in Permanent Collections 94 

Exhibitions 94 

Clubs and Awards 94 

Bibliography . 95 



n 



TOBY ROSENTHAL 

1848 1916 

Biography and Works 




" THE CARDINAL" 



^ 



TOBY ROSENTHAL 



From the windows of a humble tailor shop to the 
walls of the great galleries of America and Europe, is the 
story of the artist, Toby Rosenthal. A story written by in- 
tense ambition, hard work, and a never swerving devotion to 

his ideals of art. 

Whether Rosenthal was born in Strassburg,West Prus- 
sia, or in New Kaven, Connecticut, is a question upon which bi- 
ographical authorities are closely divided. In the earlier, 
more nearly contemporary accounts his birthplace is given as 
Strassburg; while the more modern works give it as New Haven. 
The more acceptable fact is that he was born in Germany and 
was brought to America at about the age of four. One fact 
generally agreed upon is that his birthdate was March 15, 1848. 
Toby was of German Jewish parentage, being the son of Jacob 
and Esther Rosenthal. His father was a tailor and already 
the father of two boys when Toby was born. Neither the wor- 
thy Jacob nor Toby's brothers ever evinced any artistic abil- 
ity, and if we look for inherited talent, we must go back to 
his maternal grandfather, a rabbi and teacher of the Scrip- 
tures. One detailed account describes the patriarch bless- 
ing the baby and officiating at the traditional ceremony at 
which he was given the names, Tobias Edward. 



3 



HTS FARLY EDUCATION AND ART TRAIKINa 
The family joined the eager eyed throng looking to 
better the'nselves in the New World and emigrated to America, 
probably in 1853. There they settled at New Haven, Connecti- 
cut, where they remained for four years. Business was not 
flourishing and the country was full of rumours about the boom 
times in California; so after a brief stop in New York, in 
1857 they went to San Francisco, then in its infancy, where 
the good Jacob doubtless thought to make a fortune— if not in 
the gold fields, by making suits for the miners and dresses 

for their ladies. 

The children at first attended public school, but 
Jacob Rosenthal was neither so.tisfied with the education that 
they xvere receiving nor the associations which they were form- 
ing with the young hoodlums of the neighborhood; so at an ex- 
pense ivhich forccci rigid economy on himself and his family, 
he secured the services of a private tutor, from whom Toby 
learned all he ever absorbed of common education. 

From almost babyhood Toby had shown a love of draw- 
ing and of pictures. In his readers, it was not the letters 
and words which held his childish fancy, but the illustrations. 
We are told that he covered, not only the margins of his books, 
but even the wall paper with his copies and sketches, and it 
was at the ripe age of five that he announced to his father 
that when he grew up he wanted to be a painter of pictures. 
From this early determination he never wavered, and, after the 



( 



fpmlly settled in San Francisco, he persuaded Jacob to send 
him to Monsieur Louis Bacon for art lessons. Bacon v/as a 
French sculptor \"hc hr^d a small class in drawing and there 
was not much that he ^-^as able to teach the aiiibltious boy. Part 
of this training seemed to consist of giving Toby pictures to 
copy. One of these was from a French illustrated magazine and 
represented the takinr; of the Malakoff. It was a picture in- 
volving ovei' seventy faces and the boy copied it with such 
exactitude and verve t?iat the copy fairly excelled the orig- 
inal. His proud father hung this drawing in his tailor shop 
window, 

OPPORTUIv'ITY KNOCKS AT HIS DOOR 
The subject of further art lessons was seriously 
considered and Mi-. Thomas Hill, the famou.s California land- 
scape artist, was approached. He, however, required two dol- 
lars an hour for lessoiis, which, though they may have been 
worth it, was far beyond the means of the tailor and his fam- 
ily at this time. Toby was in despair at the idea that he 
would have to take up tailoring, or be apprenticed to some 
trade, for lack of fui'ther art instruction. Then came the 
fortunate chance, the opportunity without v.'hich the name of 
Rosenthal would never have become known. One day the door 
of the little tailor shop opened and in walked a well-to-do 
German baker named Hess, He had looked at the Malakoff pic- 
ture in the window and he asked Jacob who had drawn it. He 



was told that it ^ms the boy, Toby. then about fourteen. 
When he learned, as he did by furthsr questioning, that there 
was no money for art lessons, he .laid thr.t such talent must 
not be wasted and that he would come back the next day and 
would be responsible for securing the instructions needed. He 
said that he knew an artist who thought more of art than mon- 
ey, who would be interested in the boy. And come back he did 
and took Toby to the studio of Fortunate Arriola. Arrlola 
looked at the work done by Toby and looked at Toby himself. 
It was the first studio the boy had ever seen and it is easy 
to imagine the hope and awe with which he regarded the easels, 
the paints, the canvases. To Toby it must have seemed a door- 
way to the Heaven of his ambitious young dreams. The artist, 
Arriola, consented to take Toby in immediately, and the only 
payment he stipulated was that the boy try hard and continue 
to do his best work, at which he had already shown himself 
capable. Arriola realized the boy's possibilities, for he 

said: 

"I'll teach you all I know for nothing. I 
do not believe I cr^.u teach you much; your 
way lies above mine." 

For eighteen months the good hearted Spanish painter 
kept his word and shared his knowledge with young Toby. They 
worked together on several pictures and it is to the man's 
credit that he felt no jealousy at the boy's swift progress, 
but rather was glad that he was an instrument towards his suc- 
cess. At the end of this time he tonk Toby to his father and 



admitted that he v;as al)\^. to teach him no more, and said that 
he should be sent to Europe to l'u..''-.her d-^-'/elop a talent that 
was recognized as genius. Jacob l-'.ofeench-il had anticipated 
this, and cletefiired to sacrifice rc^'her than hamoer Toby's 
studies; ho had saved the money necessary to send the lad to 
Munich; which at that time enjoyed the reputation of being 
the center of European art. 

TOBY GOES TO EUROPE 
Toby '-'ac, only sixteen when he made the trip to Mun- 
ich — alone, with the savings of the Rosenthal family— 4iot knov/_ 
ing a single person in the strange city. It speaks well for 
his singleness of purpose and his character, that there was 
no hesitancy in sending the boy by himself. When he arrived 
at Munich he applied for admittance to the Royal Academy, but 
he found that though he had been considered a v/onder at home, 
he did not come up in some respects to their entrance require- 
ments. Toby immediately applied himself to brushing up in 
what he lacked, and by the time the next term opened he was 
able to take his place in the class. He had not been with his 
class six months when he became dissatisfied with his progress 
and with eleven other students formed a class which was con- 
ducted by Professor Raupp. This increased his progress great- 
ly as he also kept on with his Royal Academy studies. It was 
while ho was with Raupp that Toby painted "Affection's Last 
Offering", This was his first important work and was very 



favorably received, being reproduced in Illustrated art mag- 
azines in Europe and America. The picture was sent to San 
Francisco, and it is told that when his old teacher, Fortunate 
Arriola, saw the picture he was so overcome with emotion that 
he sobbed. Before this picture was completed Professor Raupp 
was offered, and accepted, the post of Director of the Acad- 
emy at Nuremburg. Toby, who decided it was best to remain in 
Munich, had to find a new master and was taken by Raupp to 
the great Carl von Piloty, who accepted him as a pupil. High- 
er he could not go than Piloty in Munich. Piloty was consid- 
ered by far the best instructor in Germany and very particu- 
lar about the pupils he received. 

Under Piloty he paintec! his "Morning Services in 
the Home of Sebastian Bach". This brought the artist instant 
acclaim and was exhibited in Vienna, after being shown in Mun- 
ich and Nuremburg. It was purchased by the City of Leipsic 
for their public museum. This picture was lithographed by 
the City of Leipsic and widely copied in wood-cut by all the 
illustrated papers. 

At this time as Rosenthal's health became impaired, 
from too much study and concentration upon his work, he re- 
turned in 1871 for a visit to San Francisco. 

It is easy to imagine the pride and joy with which 
he was welcomed by his old parents. Their faith had been so 
amply Justified and greater triumphs were yet to come. 



HIS "ELAINE" 
It was during this visit that Toby met Mr. Tibercio 
Parrott, who was a well-known millionaire Art Connoisseur of 
San Francisco. This wealthy merchant was a patron of Art, 
and there ripened a friendship with Rosenthal, due to similar 
tastes and the fact that both were widely travelled. One eve- 
ning at his home, reaching down a well-worn copy of Tennyson, 
he turned to the "Idyls of the King", selected and read the 
passage: 

"Then rose the dumb old servitor, and the dead, 
Steered by the dumb, went upward with the flood. 

In her right hand the lily, in her left the 

letter; 
All her bright hair streaming down; 

And all the coverlid was cloth of gold, 
Down to the waist, and she herself in v^hite. 

All but her face, and that clean featured face 
Was lovely, for she did not seem as dead 
But fast asleep, and lay as she smiled." 

"Can you paint me a picture of that?" he asked 
the artist, 

"I can," said Rosenthal, "If you will let me 
take my own time. " 

"Do so, and name your own price. " 

Rosenthal took the Tennyson home, and spent the 

night eagerly reading the Idyl. In the morning he visited Mr. 

Parrott and they agreed that he would paint the picture on 

his return to Munich and that the price would be one thousand 

dollars. 



Immediately on his arrival he started his commis- 
sion, which he had decided to title "Elaine" — but found it 
impossible to be satisfied vdth his efforts. Sketch after 
sketch was made and thrown away; finally in desperation he 
sneaked the corpse of a young woman into his studio; to get 
the appearance and atmosphere of death on his canvas. He 
kept this strange model, working feverishly, until the pro- 
tests of his neighbors forced him to give up his strange com- 
panion. As a result he fell severely ill. 

About this time Miss Hattle Green of San Francisco, 
visited Munich, accompanied by friends, to study Art. Quite 
naturally she visited the studio of the already well known 
Rosenthal. She was beautiful, with long golden hair and Toby 
immediately saw in her his image of Elaine. She consented to 
pose and the features of the painting were hers. 

Meantime the picture had taken up much more of the 
artist's time than he had expected it would and he wrote to 
Mr, Parrot t that in view of this and the fact thst it was a 
larger and better painting than they had planned, that the 
price be raised to $2,200. To this letter he received no re- 
ply, and after several months of silence, Toby considered him- 
self released from the contract. "Elaine" was finished at 
last and sent to Berlin for exhibition, v/here it drew large 
crowds and much favorable criticism. While it was there on 
exhibition, Mrs. Robert C. Johnson of San Francisco called on 
Rosenthal at his studio, and seeing a photograph of "Elaine" 



fell In love with it, and offered Toby two, three and finally 
three and a half thousand dollars for it. This price the art- 
ist accepted and the painting was sent to America. After the 
sale it developed that Crown Prince Frederich William admired 
and wished to purchase "Elaine" at a high figure, but Jfrs. 
Johnson would not sell and it was exhibited in Boston for two 
weeks before being sent to San Francisco. 

There was much controversy over the artist's breach 
of contract with his patron in which connection the News Let- 
ter of August 5, 1876, later made the following frank critl- 
oisia: 

"The apologist of Rosenthal cunningly attempts 
to create sj'-mpathy by referring to him as the 
'poor boy artist, a mere youth', as if he were 
not competent to enter into a contract to paint 
a picture. Nov;, as Toby Rosenthal was twenty- 
six years of age, when he received the commis- 
sion from Mr. Parrott, the childhood plea must 
be considered weak indeed; and as to his pover- 
ty, he is well off for one in his station of 
life, and was at the time referred to. No, if 
that breach of contract has any significance — 
and we think it has, it can readily be found 
in the covetousness which is Inherent in some 
men, and which stops at nothing — even the vio- 
lation of a contract, — for gain.'" 

Mr. Parrott, who had ordered "Elaine" from Rosen- 
thal was both angry and disappointed at his failure to deliv- 
er the picture. There was a deal of discussion as to whether 
an ordered painting was, or was not, an artist's own property, 
before he received payment. The result was that Parrott, the 
art patron, ordered another painting of the same theme to be 
executed by Dominico Tojettl; Tojetti was the well-known Ital- 



10 



Ian fipure-pa inter who had made his home in San Francisco. 

It tool: the latter over a year to paint his "Elaine", 
and when it ii?as finished there v;as great controversial crit- 
icism as to the relative merits of the tv/o canvases. 

Regardless of the ethics of the transaction I.'Irs. 
Robert Johnson made arrangements with Snov; & May to exhibit 
"Elaine" in their G-al^.ery, the proceeds to be given to Char- 
ity. 

It was hung for three days and attracted immense 
crowds; ten thousand and ninety-four persons jam.med Snow & 
May's G-alleries the first d.ay. Prominent, in the front of 
the throng, were an excited be-spectacled man and an old wom- 
an, with a shawl around her shoulders — drinking in the praises 
of the visitors — Jacob and Esther Rosenthal, the artist's par- 
ents. Doubtless that day was rev/ard enough for all their sac- 
rifice. 

It seems characteristic of Rosenthal's work that it 
appealed to the taste of the public; partly, at least this 
was due to the human story which he built into them. Whether 
they were humorous in subject or bordering on pathos, they all 
appealed to the emotions of the observer and. hence took and 
kept a firm hold on popular fancy. When ¥ir. Snow came down 
to his G-allery, on the morning of the third day, "Elaine" had 
been stolen. He smiled indulgently--conceiving this to be a 
joke, but to his shocked astonishment the canvas had actually 
been cut from the fra;ne. Virtually the entire police depart- 



11 



ment were put on the case Immediately, and detectives haunt- 
ed the rooms of the Gallery. Mr. Snow wrote Mrs. Johnson the 
following letter v/hich Indicates his deep concern: 
"April 3, 1875 

Mrs. Robert C. Johnson 
San Francisco, California 

Respected Madam: 

We cannot be unmindful of your kindness 
in yielding to the popular wish to look upon 
'Elaine' and your placing it in our possession 
to gratify that desire, and we beg to express 
again our deep sorrow that we have been the un- 
witting cause of so sad a loss to you. 

We have taken a day to recover our equil- 
ibrium from yesterday's shock--have given the 
matter mature thought, and reach the conclusion 
that if v/e are not legally, we are morally re- 
sponsible for the safety of property placed in 
our hands by the patrons of our house. To of- 
fer a reward for the return of 'Elaine', would 
be a precedent imperiling the most valued prop- 
erty of a large class of our citizens, render- 
ing the ownership of works of art a source of 
anxiety, rather than that of pleasure. We, 
therefore, decline to make a bid for its re- 
turn. We have, however, this day forv/arded 
to Mr. Toby E. Rosenthal, a commission to re- 
produce 'Elaine', at our charge, to take the 
place of the one lost. This will, of course, 
render valueless the stolen picture. 

With admiration for your philosophy un- 
der great trial, and with deep respect, we 
are 

Very sincerely your obedient servants, 
SNOW & MAY. " 
Mrs. Johnson accepted the generous offer and a ca- 
ble was forthwith dispatched to Toby to re-create his 'Elaine". 
But the San Francisco detectives, vrith a speed which surprised 



:(T«h 



12 



every one, probably Including thenselves, got on the trail of 
the art thieves and two days later the picture was back in the 
hands of the delighted Mr. Snow. It had been stolen with a 
view toward claiming the expected reward, and was scarcely 
damaged by the adventure. Ifr. Snow v;as quoted by the Press 
as saying the oicture to be worth about five thousand dollars, 
but for exhibition purposes he would value it at twenty-five 
thousand. 

The theft and restoration of the famous picture was 
quite naturally a nine days' wonder in San Francisco and oc- 
cupied whole pages of the contemporary newspapers. Tlie follow- 
ing amusing account of the recovery is taken from the Chroni- 
cle of April 5, 1875: 

"Taking with them the youngest of the persons 
arrested ps guide, the officers drove with all 
possible speed to a house nearly midway of the 
block. It was quite dark, and objects in the 
neighborhood seemed dim and indistinct. Pass- 
ing one or two detached buildings that occupied 
the front of the lot, they were niloted to a 
shanty in the extreme rear. Raising a window, 
and taking a key from its place of concealment, 
they opened the front door and passed through 
into a. small bed-room behind it. Here they 
found the lost treasure concealed in a bed on 
the side next the wall, under the bed-clothing. 
It was carefully wrapped in unbleached cotton, 
sealed with red sealing-wax in several places 
and had on the package, printed with a lead pen- 
cil, in large, legible letters, the words, 
'Custom House Official Ivlaps', in style and or- 
thography as here indicated. A large piece of 
the material from which the wrapper was cut had 
been previously found in the lodging-house on 
Third Street, where the first arrests had been 
made. The exultation of the officers at the 
complete success of their skilful strategy, was 
unbounded. 



13 



'Elaine' is at present at the office of the 
Chief of Police, closely guarded by a squad 
of policemen. 

An order for its delivery to Snow & May will 
be granted ty Judge Louderback, today. 

The dead having been steered by the dumb back 
to the picture store, the painting will be 
placed again en the same stretcher, the same 
frame, and exhibited in the same place, the 
ragged edge having been concealed by a narrow 
strip of moulding. The work of restoration 
will be finis}ied tomorrovr and the public will 
be admitted on Wednesday. The order sent to 
Toby Rosenthal for the duplication of the pic- 
ture will be countermanded by cable today. 

The 'Lily Iviaid of Astolat ' will hereafter be 
secure in the guardianship of one or two vig- 
ilant and esthetic watchmen, who will know and 
appreciate her at her true value. " 

The art critic of the Koenlgliche Vossiche Zeitung, 

one of the leading G-erman Journals had the following to say 

of "Elaine": 

" The picture is a pure, romantic, concep- 
tion of the scene of the poem in its tone and 
in all its relations of light and shade, and 
is developed v/ith so much love, art, o.nd care 
in each detail, that every point is in keeping 
with the general character and nothing dis- 
turbs its harmony. In design and painting it 
gives evidence of great artJstic ability, so 
complete that I am surprised at never before 
having either seen a work by its author or 
heard anything; about him. " 

A Boston critic was quoted by the San Francisco 

Chronicle as remarking entl'iusiastically : 

"No one can gaze upon Rosenthal's 'Elaine' 
without emotion. It is a poem in itself. 
But it is not only the delightful sentiment 
that permeates the work that is praisewor- 
thy. The drawing is masterly, the color is 
Indescribably beautiful and the atmosphere 



., 



14 



pervading the whole Is as c?iarming and. as 
poetical as anything in the painting, which, 
in its technical excellences, is also com- 
mendable in the highest degree. The con- 
scientiousness with which every detail is 
finished, the sharp clear and certain touch- 
es, showing! unmistakably, a hand that labors 
with perfect knowledge and leaves nothing to 
chance, bespe.';.k the great artiste" 

One of the 'Ir^vj adverse criticisms of "Elaine" is 

to be found in Isham'f. "History of American Painting", in 

which he characterl zer-. the picturr as 

"'a good 3.oud translation of our household 
Tennyson in':o the dialect of Munich. ' It 
is interer.ting because later Isham points 
out that 'Bosenthal' s style had become thor- 
oughly imbued with the mental ' and emotional 
outlook of the Munich School, so that one 
could not find in his works a trace of any- 
thing distinctly American.'" 

"Elaine" was sent to the Philadelphia Centennial 
Exposition in 1876, where it took the gold medal for Toby. 
It was later sold, by i'lrs. Johnson for $5,000 and eventually 
became the property of the Chicago Art Institute. 

Wt iiave dwelt a little long upon "Elaine" because 
of all of hosenthal's work, it se'^ms to have been the best 
known and most popular-- indeed Fingal Buchanan, San Fran- 
cisco art critic, in 1685, vient so far as to c^ll "Elaine" 
a heaven sent flas?i of insoiration, which he (Rosenthal) has 
never excelled. 

"Elaine" was the last work done by Rosenthal while 
under the instruction of Von Piloty. The first picture, 
after leaving school, was "Nature and Humanity" — c young monk 



16 



watching the movements of a pair of butterflies, as they a- 
light on the refectory table. Aftrr this he seems to have 
deserted sentiment for a time and applied himself to the hu- 
morous class of aubject which was more and more becoming his 
specialty. Two small pictures which he called "He who laughs 
last, laughs best," were taken up with the misfortunate antics 
of two school boys. 

They attracted sufficient attention in Germany for 
the G-artenlaube of Leipsic, to have a double sheet engraving 
made of them. 

The next vrell-known picture by Rosenthal was his 
"Seminary Alarmed". This, as the title indicates, portrays 
a scene in a girls' boarding school. Commenced in the early 
part of 1875 and completed in the Fall of 1877; it was exhib- 
ited in Germany and attracted unusually high praise there; in 
this connection the Nevs Letter of February 2, 1878, says: 

"Toby Rosenthal's latest work, 'A Seminary 
Alarmed', has arrived at last and is before 
the public; it is a masterly work in every 
particular and one upon which he may safely 
rest his case. All who are familiar with 
European art criticisms, and those of the 
German Press in particular, well know that 
no ordinary picture could have called forth 
the many elaborate and generally favorable 
criticisms, which were written upon this 
work during the tvo m.onths it was on exhibi- 
tion in Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg, As to 
the quality of the picture, it is superb — 
faultless in drav^ing, rich and sensuous, yet 
harmonious in color — a charming work, xvhich 
furnishes indisputable evidence that Mr. 
Rosenthal, at the early age of thirty, has 
become a master in his chosen profession. " 



16 



In a letter to his parents, Toby betrayed anxiety 

as to the reception which his "Alarmed Seminary" would find 

in San Francisco, as follow: 

"I am anxiously awaiting news of the safe 
arrival and exhibition of ray picture. Will 
my countrymen treat me with their former con~ 
sideration? Will they find merit in my new 
work? They will certainly see that I am not 
wedded to one class of subjects.' If my 'Sem- 
inary' is not received in San Francisco, I 
hope you vrill not withhold the fact from me. 
I am aware of its having both good and weak 
qualities, and can find consolation in know- 
ing that an art-cultured people, familiar 
with the v;orks of the best masters of all ages, 
have gone into ecstasies over my ivork. " 

He need not have worried, for once more the Art lov- 
ing people of San Francisco thronged to Snow & May's Gallery, 
to see the work of one of their favorite sons. It was later 
moved to the rooms of the Art Association and was purchased 
by Colonel Fair for the full price Toby asked for it~-f5,000. 
The critic of the News Letter congratulated Colonel Fair in 
an article, May 25, 1878, saying: 

"In this work Colonel Fair has a picture far 
superior in quality to anything ever painted 
by a Californian. Rosenthal went away from 
here a boy student, he returned a master, a 
credit to California and an honor to his pro- 
fession. " 

High praise indeed for Toby, for California was 
finding her place in the art world and many of her artists 
were already famous. 



17 



THE TRIAL OF CONSTANCE PS BEVERLY 
Once more, as in the case of "Elaine", words of a 
famous poem suggested the theme for what vras to be a famous 
painting, Rosenthal visited San Francisco again in 1879; 
older, more assured, — he was still glad of the love and re- 
spect of his fellow townsmen; for him at least it was a case 
where the prophet was honored in his own land. During this 
visit he became acquainted v'lth li/Ir. Irving Scott. Scott told 
Toby that ever since 1876, he had realized the dramatic pos- 
sibilities for a picture in the lives of Walter Scott's 
"Marmlon". He said he realized he could not order an inspira- 
tion, but giving the poem to the artist added that if it in- 
spired Rosenthal, he would take the picture. Rosenthal read 
the trial scene until he v;as as enthusiastic as Scott himself 
and agreed to carry out the commission when he returned to 
Munich. 

The following extracts from letters written by the 
artist to his patron, are interesting, as they give a side- 
light on Rosenthal's personality as well as on his great ca- 
pacity for taking pains with details: 

"January 18, 1881 

I find your 'Marmlon' a very difficult sub- 
ject to treat, because Sir Walter Scott goes 
rather too far In his description of the 
'Trial Scene' and puts Pegasus in chains. 
To transpose a master's work of painting in 
language, into a work of the same merit in 
color on canvas is not always easy, in many 
cases impossible but I must take some poetic 



18 



artistic license as all translators from one 
lanf^uage to another do. I must invent new 
terms and use other grammatical rules to be 
able to expr'ess the same thought-feeling, pow- 
er of rhythm, limelight and shade.' The Di- 
rector of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, 
Professor Charles von Piloty, declare?^ the 
subject 'a hard nut to crack'. Several art- 
ists here say it is a difficult task, and are 
pleased not to have the problem to solve. " 

"January 21, 1882 

I have set aside your -nicture; the trying 
light hurts ray eyes. Sir Walter discovers 
the scenes lit by the rays of a crescent and 
torches. 'By each in Benedictine dress tv/o 
haggard monks stood motionless. ' I have 
spared no labor, time, nor money, in my en- 
deavor to make 'Ivlarmion' my greatest work. 
I want to send a picture home that will be 
a picture and a monument to my memory. I 
have studied up the special history of the 
Benedictine Order, and consulted the great 
Church Historian, Dollinger, in regard to a 
question of ecclesiastical law. He gave me 
a great deal of information and showed great 
interest in my work. " 

The painting of "Constance" was delayed by the art- 
ist's poor health. At one time the doctors forbade him to 
touch a brush for six months. Toby took his idleness with 
mortification and impatience as he was intensely interested 
in his subject. 

This is an extract from another of Rosenthal's 

letters to Mr, Scott, on the completion of the picture: 

"Berchtesgaden 
September 6, '84 

"My picture has gone through the fire-proof 

in Europe. It has hung side by side v;ith 

the greatest art productions of this century; 

it competed with the best works loaned from 



A 



19 



all the National Galleries and Royal collec- 
tions in Europe. All the greatest Art critics 
of Europe have approved our picture. The great 
Art Jury, formed by about thirty artists from 
all parts of Europe, sent as delegates from all 
nations and representing the most celebrated 
names — have av/arded a Golden Medal for the 
work. " 

These letters that have been quoted were attached 
to the catalog of Rosenthal's Exhibition, held in San Fran- 
cisco, in November of 1884, when "The Trial of Constance de 
Beverly" was first shown to the public. It was perhaps a 
mistake to print all the letters, which, on the face of them, 
had not been intended for public consumption, and the local 
Press were a bit Inclined to twit Rosenthal, on his so evi- 
dent satisfaction v/ith his own work. 

The following criticism from the "Evening Bulletin" 

of January 17, 1884, gives a graphic description of "Constance 

de Beverly". 

"California claims today the greatest American 
artist — Toby Rosenthal, In the collection his 
work is unique. His picture of the immuring of 
'Constance de Beverly' is a true work of art, 
full of the finest feeling, great depth and 
beauty. The work shov/s thought even in the 
smallest details. The subject is taken from 
Scott's 'Llarmion' and shows the moment when 
Constance de Beverly, the nun who escaped to 
serve as J/Iarmlon's page, is doomed to be im- 
mured alive in the prepared niche in the stone 
wall. The blind old abbot, destitute of human 
feeling, heartlessly condemns the beautiful 
young Constance to death. On the stony face 
of the abbess there is almost an expression of 
delight in being able to agree to this' terri- 
ble punishment. The principal figure, Con- 
stance de Beverly, is a personification of 
beauty and loveliness. 



20 



As the v;ell fed monk In a fiendish way tears 
away her mantel, her page's dress serves but 
to reveal her charms. Her horror at the ter- 
rible death awaiting her, and yet her courage, 
are touching to behold. Shuddering, one gazes 
upon the dark forms in the background who, in 
the flickering light of the torches, prepare 
the living grave." 

TOBY MARRIED— 1880 
In July of 1880, Toby married Miss Sophia Ansbacher 
of Furth, Germany; who, we are told, "added to her charming 
character and innate refinement, rare musical attainments." 
They had two children, a boy and a girl; the boy later be- 
coming an architect of high standing in Munich* Rosenthal's 
married life was a happy one, and he often remarked that it 
was for his wife's sake that he valued his success. 

THE CARDINAL AND FURTHER HONORS 
One of the best loved pictures ever painted by 
Rosenthal was the "Cardinal's Portrait"; painted in 1896; 
even today — forty years later, it has been voted the most 
popular picture exhibited in San Francisco. The story told 
by the painting, is that of the Cardinal sitting to a young 
monk for his portrait. The old man has gone to sleep, and 
the monk is scratching his head in perplexity. On the easel 
is the partly finished portrait and the contrast between the 
dignified pose on the canvas and the blissfully sleeping 
Prince of the Church is what gives the picture its value. A 
simple story, but it appeals, it is humorous, but with a 



21 



tender quality that brings a sympathetic smile. This pic- 
ture has been reproduced, more than any other of the artist's 
work, and Is familiar to thousands who probably do not even 
know Toby's name. Between pictures Rosenthal had taken on 
several selected pupils and was very successful as a teacher. 
As he grew older he devoted more and more of his time to this 
work and was elected a trustee of the Kunstgenossenschaft and 
was honored by beJng Invested with the Bavarian Order of St, 
Michael; if it were necessary to prove tlie high esteem in 
which Rosenthal was held by the German people, these honors 
would do so, 

HIS DEATH IN MUNICH 

Toby Rosenthal died in Munich in the month of De- 
cember, 1916, at the age of sixty-eight. 

It is Impossible to read the life of Rosenthal 
without the greatest admiration for his steadfastness of 
purpose. He early decided that he wanted to become an art- 
ist — and he did, regardless of the difficulties and hard 
work which would have discouraged an ideal less firm, San 
Francisco has reason to be proud of th.e name of Toby 
Rosenthal, and, though fame and reputation are fleeting — 
his will endure while people may yet go for themselves to 
the galleries and see his beautiful stories on canvas. 



22 



REPRESENTATIVE WORKS OF T.OBY ROSENTHAL 

"Affection's Last Offering" (1868) 

"Spring's Joy and Sorrow" (1868) 

"The Family of Sebastian Bach at Prayer" (1870) 

"Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire" (1874) 

"Elaine" (1874) 

"Young Monk in the Refectory" (1875) 

"Forbidden Longing" (1877) 

"Vlho Laughs La,st, Laughs Best" (1877) 

"Seminary Alarmed" (1877) 

"Mother's Prayer" (1881 ) 

"The Empty Place" (1882) 

"The Trial of Constance de Beverly" (1883) 

"Departure from the Family" (1885) 

"Dancing Lessons During the Empire" (1886) 

"The Portrait of the Cardinal" (1898) 

"The Image Maker" (1908) 

"Exiles Return" 

"Nature and Humanity" 

"The New Governess" 

"Bruederschaft" 

"Iferie the Cook" 



23 



BT^T^BF.Fi ENTATIVE PORTRAITS BY ROS ENTH^ 
"William Seligsberg" (1878) 
"Dr. J.O. Hirschfelder" (1899) 
"Mrs. Leonard Jacob!" (1902) 
"Leonard Jacobi" (1903) 
"Mrs. L. " (1912) 



RTRTTOfrRAPHY — TOBY ROS ENTHAL 



Dictionary of American Biography- 
History and Ideals of American Art 

by Eugene Neuhaus, Page 154 
Catalogue of the Rosenthal Exhibition 

November 13, 1384 
American Art Annual, 1916 

History of American Painting by Samuel Isham, 132b 
Overland Magazine, March 1875 
Dictionnaire des Peintres, Vol. 3, Page 651 
History of American Art by S. Hartmann 

Vol.^ 2, Page 160 
Thi erne-Becker Kunster Lexi'^on, Vol. 24 
Art in California by Bernier 
The San Francisco Chronicle, 

March 28, 1875, Page 8— April 5, 187G 
The San Francisco News Letter, August o, 187o 

February 2, 1878— May 25, 1878 
The San Francisco Evening Bulletin, January 17 ibb4 
The San Francisco Call Bulletin, Augiast 8, 1871 
New International Encyclopedia 
History of American Artists by Eugene Neuhaus 



S I G N R I) M I N I C T J E T T I 

.1817 1892 

Biography and Works 




"THE BATTLE OF THE CENTAURS" 



24 



aTfiMna noiSTMTCO TOJSTTI 

Painting and the sppreclstlon cf art generally In 
San Francisco of th. 70' s Is saia to ove . "roat debt to the 
arrival In that city, In 1871, of Signer Domlnlco Tojettl, 
an Italian artist, and his family. 

Domlnlco Tojettl, or .s he became better !.nown to 
early San Francl.oan., Professor Tojettl, .as born In Rome, 
Italy, m 1817. He camo fron a distinguished Roman family 
and hlB dlHtlnct talent for dra.me -.as sho.,,n early. This 
talent and early artistic ambition appear to have been fos- 
tered by his parents, for Domlnlco studied ",1th such famous 
teachers of the Italian school as Gamuclnl and Nurandl. He 
.aid Of himself that his early training v-as severe and ardu- 
ous, and he attributed much of his later success to the tho:^ 
ough grounding v,-hich he acquired in Rome in both drawing and 
color. We may presume, also, that the boy Tojettl took an 
especial Interest in the wealth of both mythological and clas- 
sical art .•hichv:ere available at Rome. The influence of 
these showed in his painting throughout his life. 

r.m-Raw commissions 
His talent ™s rewarded early by many Important com- 
missions m Rome, the m.ost outstanding of which may be divided 
into two categories; work done for the Church, and that of a 
secular nature. Popes Gregory XVI and Plus IX both honored 



25 



Tojetti with orders for the Vatican as well as for the Church- 
es of Rome. As the result of winning a nation-wide contest, 
his picture of the blessed Germain was chosen to be exhibit- 
ed in the Basilica of St, Peter's on the occasion of the be- 
atification of that Saint. The picture represents St. G-crmain 
miraculously fording a torrent and is now preserved in the 
Great Hall of the Vatican. Another very important commission 
given by Pius IX, was a large painting to commemorate the es- 
cape of that Pontiff and his court; for that work, which is 
in the Church of St. Agnes, the painter was accorded the ti- 
tle of Marquis of the Church. 

The lateral altar in the vast Basilica of St. Paul's, 
representing the interview between St. Paul, Priscilla, and 
Aquila when they became converted to Christianity, is one of 
the better known masterpieces of Tojetti. 

EUROPEAN PORTRAITS 

When two figures were to be replaced in the famous 
Loggia of Raphael at the Vatican, Gregory XVI ordered Tojetti 
to take the commission, This^ perhaps as much as anything else^ 
showed the high esteem in v/hich he v/as held in Roman art cir- 
cles. Wlien this work was comoletod he was decorated by the 
King of Naples and by the crazy King Ludwig of Bavaria. To- 
jetti probably painted three fourths of all the portraits of 
the Popes which then hung in the gallery at the Vatican. 



26 



In secular work To.jettl was no less successful. 
Prince Torlonia was one of his distinguished patrons and a- 
mong the artist's best known frescoes arp those "^n.ic^ adorn 
the ball room of the Prince's palace at Naples. They are of 
a mythological and historical character. 

Now we come to the circumsttncef: which eventually 
brought Tojetti and his family to San Francisco. Thi"ough his 
work and his fo.'Tiily influences, the Sif.'nor was well acouaint- 
ed at the Italian court and in diplomatic circles. It was 
due to these connections and to his outstanding merit as both 
a painter and a teacher, that he was selected by the i.'inister 
from Guatemala to fill an inportr.nt post in Central America. 
The Guatemalan Government, wishing" to establish an Acrdemy of 
Fine Arts, had instructed their minister to secure for them 
the services of the best Itr.lian artir.t available. After a 
good deal of nersuasion, Tojetti decided to accept the honor 
offered and with his wife^ two sons and a daughter, left for 
the Central American Country. 

TO GUATEi.-IALA 
In those days it was a long and dangerous trip a- 
round the Horn, and the danger i"as fully realized by the un- 
fortunate family. Their ship was wrecked and although their 
lives were spared, Tojetti lost most of his treasured oos- 
sessions, including a large assortment of costumes which he 
had intended to use in historical paintings. After such a 



27 



discouraging ptart it is pleasant to be able to relate that 
he was both honci'ed and successful in his new post. Thei-e 
for four yeara^ he carried on the duties of President of the 
Guatemala Acar?en:y of Fine Arts, during vhich time he succeed- 
ed in putting the new institution on a firm and lasting basis. 
Hov/ever, the climate did not agree with his health; so he was 
finally obliged to resign and tra^'el northward. At that time 
he made a short stay in Mexico, From there, in D.871, he went 
to San Francisco. 

The Tojettis were well received by the art world 
of San Francisco, the more so as his daughter, Signora Tojetti 
Maringhi, was acclaimed as the greatest pianist ever to appear 
in that city, while his sons Virgillo and Eduardo attracted 
attention as painters. The Professor found a large home on 
Grant Avenue and^ moving his talented family into it, prepared 
to make a long stay* 

Ali^^SING CRITICISM 
One of the earliest major works of Tojetti, in his 
adopted home, was a large canvas, "California". The painting 
aroused considerable criticism, both good and bad. Since at 
that time he could neither read nor write English, it was felt 
that, perhaps through no fault of his own, he had made many 
mistakes on this ambitious vrork. It was an allegorical com- 
position representing California as a female figure flanked 
by two minor figures, Commerce and Agriculture; in the back- 



28 



ground were -aoun tains, hru'vest fleld?= and the ocean The art 

critic of the /.."v,.fl Letter 89 id of the pi-'trro: 

"Its gr'.at chsr:n, it is needless tc say, is 
the ai'tirti^. ipanner in ;vhich th.T subject is 
tree ted. Tlie draving is vigorous, the ccl- 
oring •"'.rm and rich, w}:il3t the '.-eir in which 
the light and shade are managed is exceeding- 
ly effBctive- The grouping slao is very ar- 
tistic, "che central figures boing brought 
promlnontly for;'arr*, the subsidi^-u-y figures, 
not interfering v;ith, but on the contrary 
serving to bring into relief and to illus- 
trate the principal part of the allegory, 
the central figure, 'California'. To a land- 
scape bi-eathing pet ce and tranqu.ility this 
picture adds the interest of an historical 
allegory, and as the spectator stands before 
it enti^f.nced, gathering into his mind the 
details of the painting, he is "^orced to own 
that for this alone the artist deserves the 
laurels which he hss long since earned and 
so modestly wears," 

CLASSICAL V.S. CALIFORNIA 
On the other hand the art critic of the Overland 
Magazine of January, 1875, voicing the conviction that a paint- 
ing designed to symbolize the Lady of the Golden G-ate sriould 
display at least a rudimentary kno-.vledge of the history, fig- 
ures and symbols appropriate to the State of California, dips 
his pen in a solution of wormwood and writes: 

"In one of the flamboyant paintings now on 
exhibition at the Academy vie have 'Califor- 
nia' allegorized by Professor Tojettl. In 
the use of allegory to illustrate a subject 
on canvas, great latitude is allowed the 
painter; but an essential desideratum is, of 
course, a thorough technical!, knovrledge of 
the subject to be treated. This the artist 
evidently does not possess, and the result 
is a remarkable picture in that it has some 



Ill 



29 



fine draving and painting, but nil is lost 
and ruined by his ignoranne of the subject 
and by several errors which will creep into 
all coTiposltions of this magnitude. Now, b. 
bear is a very proper thing indeed in an al- 
legory of California, but not as a seat for 
one of those three figures. Poor Bruin must 
be anything but comf ortt.ble, as he forces his 
nose out for a little fresh air. V/hat simili- 
tude h.'is that old spear to anything Califor- 
nlan? '/^hy not lay the bow and vvvom pros- 
trate, in lieu of it? There ar'^ no mining 
implements of any sort represented, a.nd a 
badly dr£i.wn and unnaturally colored sickle, 
with a sheaf of wheat such as could be pluck- 
ed from any ba.le of v/heat hay, is made to rep- 
resent agriculture. 

"And what a \.'eakly simpering maiden, to rep- 
resent California, is that central figure; 
while those each side are not much better, 
and labor under the disadvantage of sitting 
in holes in the ground. Signer Tojetti could 
doubtless treat such a subject of his own 
country in a different manner, but from a 
gentleman v;ho has lived but a short time In 
California, and neither speaks nor reads the 
English language at all, it is ex-necting too 
much to think that he can handle such a sub- 
ject intelligently, and the ovmer of the pic- 
ture has himself to blame for giving the com- 
mission and getting as a result a poor pic- 
ture . " 

"The Battle of the Centaurs", another of Tojetti's 

large canvases, followed his vork "California", and now hangs 

in the de Young Iviuseum at Son Francisco, The picture, which 

Is mythological in subject, vas p;\lnted in accordance with the 

description given by Plutarch. The principal figures are 

those of Theseus and the Centaur which ]ic, has vanquished. 

There are other pccossory figures, notably one of a Centaur 

carrying off a struggling maiden. Of this picture the critic 

of the News Letter commcntodJ 



30 



I" The genius of the artist has enabled 

him, In portraying the Centrurs, to combine 
the human form, expressing an almost super- 
human Intelllgenoe} \.lth the distinctive 
characteristics of a lorer species, so per- 
fectly thrt It makes our human pride recoil, 
as if some enemy of our race tainted us "'ith 
the assurance that the monr^trous might, at 
least in the moral world, find its counter- 
part. To those carping critics who find Pro*- 
fessor Tojstti'3 style too severe and class- 
ical, we can only say that if clas-^ical art 
is to bo bo.nishod from the rooms of the Art 
Association, then that body surely mrde a 
sorious mistake in importing, at so great an 
expense, those plaster models designed for 
training students in true artistic princi- 
ples. 

"Few of our citizens rre able to gratify by 
foreign travel their desire to behold the 
best specimens of the school in which Profes- 
sor Tojetti excels, and we cannot but think 
their thanks ara due to him for bringing the 
classical school of art es it were, to their 
very doors. 

"For our part re may add, without wishing in 
any v;ay to take from the well-earned reputa- 
tion of local artists who have labored long 
'and faithfully to advf:^nce the cause of art 
in our midst, that the pr3scnce of Professor 
Tojetti among us may be hailed by th^m, t<s 
well as by the public, as an Inestimable ad- 
vantage, enabling our city in its art in- 
fancy to begin vrhere older cities ore proud 
to leave off," 

On the othor hand v;3 hrve the critic of the Overland 

ivionthly, February, 1G75, who in sperklng of "Cfillf ornlr" , "The 

Battle of the Centaurs" and "Tho ;;iac;!onna" spying: 

"The three large pictures by To.iettl are re- 
markeble — chiefly for their size. They are 
faulty in drawing, bad in color, and very 
conventional in composition. It is a ^Ity 
that a man who is a tolere-ble portrrit paint- 
er should so ml'5take his abilities; for an 



31 



ambitious attempt like this, when it falls so 
far below mediocrity, becomes mournful." 

Mr, Tiburcio Parrot, pioneer San Franciscan and lib- 
eral patron of the arts, had early taken an interest in the 
work and progress of Tojetti, It -.-as he who had commissioned 
"Calif ornia", and in spite of previous criticism, he now gave the 
Italian painter another important order. At his suggestion 
Tojetti did a painting illustrating Dante's story of Francesca 
da Rimini and hor tragic love for Paul Malatesta. As was true 
of this artist's earlior efforts a great deal of controversy 
was stirred by this painting. One of the principal arguments 
was as to whether the composition was copied from Dore's fa- 
mous illustrations for Dante. In this connection the San Fran- 
cisco News Letter of July, 1675, stated: 

A C0HTR0VSR5Y BY CRITICS 

"'Francesca da Rimini' as painted by Tojetti, 
has some resemblance to same subject treated 
by Dore. There can be no doubt of it. And 
what does it prove, except that each artist, 
with the same instruction to guide him; in- 
struction contained ' in the m&rginal notes of 
the written tragedy, placed there to secure 
the proper representation of the scene upon 
the stege — has arrived at very nearly the 
same result — the p£ Im of superior excellence 
evidently falling to our ovm artist, Tojetti. 
The room in the castle, Vae chair, that Is so 
grievous an offence to the 'Call' critic, the 
famous window that Tojetti has drred to put 
In the wall of his room after Dore had put one 
in his, the drapery, and last of all the rel- 
ative positions of Francesca, of Lancietto, 
and of Paul, are not only fixed by the text of 
the tragedy, but the costumes as well are ful- 
ly set forth." 



32 



This same picture was later, In 1879, exhibited at 
the Paris Salon, v/here the opposite side wa.s taken by the 
Paris Art Corresoondent of the G-azzetta del Popolo of Turin, 
published In that paper, June 26, 1879,- he said In part: 

"I have noticed tvo large pictures by Tojetti 
of Rome. One of them 'Elaine' might pass; as 
to the other — 'Francesoa da Rimini' — it is an 
unv/orthy thing. He hss had the effrontery to 
literally copy the wood-engraving from Dante, 
illustrated by Dore and to paint it as large 
as nature. Even this might have been pardon- 
ed, however, if only it were well executed; 
and he had the Impudence to send this daub to 
Paris, v./here it was placed close to a big 
painting by the same Dore — which, after all. 
Is equally ugly. It seems as if it wes ac- 
cepted and hung at the Salon only in mockery, 
to shov; that Italian artists copy the French. 
In a word, it is provoking for an Italian to 
see such work. " 

During this time Tojetti engaged in a good deal of 
portrait work in which he was successful. Among these was a 
full length portrait of Mark Hopkins, the famous art patron, 
of Nob Hill. Tho Hopkins family refused to accept the portrait, 
which as a result stood in the artist's studio gathering dust. 
In the main, however, his portrait work was better received than 
the larger more ambitious canvases and even his most severe 
critics could find only his use of bright coloring at which 
to level their shafts — "Gaudy as a nev/ chromo", protested the 
Chronicle critic for example. Among these portraits perhaps 
one of the beat kno^'n was that of Mrs. Ashl.ey, which attracted 
favorable comment as v.-ell as new sitters for Tojetti 's brush. 



j 



33 



HIS "3IAINE" AND R0S£NTHAL5 ' S 

■ ■■■ --■ —— ■I ..-!■■ ■ ! ■■,■ II ^ — ■ ^ |W.|.,| . ■■ — — ,. 

Probably every r?.rtlst hcs to his credit one naint- 
ing which stands cut from the rest of his canvar>es, one with 
vrhlch his name becomes associated, by the laity as well as by 
critic and connoisseur. If such is the case, "Elaine", was 
certainly Tojetti's one painting. The circumstances which 
brought him the commission were peculiar and aroused public 
interest in "Elaine", almost before she took form on canvas. 
Mr. Parrott had ordered from Toby Rosenthal, San Francisco's 
Boy Artist, a jjicture illustra,ting a scene from Tennyson's 
"Idyl of Elaine", The story is that Mr. Parrott had agreed 
to pay young Rosenthal $1000 for the painting but that on 
its completion it was sold to Mrs. Johnson of San Francisco 
for a much higher price. It v.'as then exhibited in San Fran- 
cisco where it was stolen from the gallery and later recova> 
ed by the police. Feeling over the ethics of the transaction 
ran high, and as the outcome of the v/hole thing, Mr. Parrott 
commissioned Tojetti to do another version of it for him. Se- 
lecting the same scene to paint, the Professor snont a year 
on what was to become his best known picture. Accounts dif- 
fer as to the price he received; the News Letter said five 
and the Examiner said ten thousand dollars. 

It was inevitable that th3 second canvas should be 
compared to the earlier one by Rosenthal, vhich by that time 
was in Munich; it was also inevitable th^t the critics should 



34 



be divided in their opinions as to the relative merits of the 
"T^vo Elaines" rs they crrae to be called. Tojetti's picture 
sho'ved the Lily White Maid of Astolat lying in a rowboat, her 
hands crossed on her breast. In the boat v/ith her was the 
dumb servant v/ho accompanied her to Gamolot, while her broth- 
ers stood on the shore. In the background rose the towers of 
Astolat, It was in the detail of the painting thrt Tojetti 
shov/ed again his special attention to costume and ocloring. 
Those factors made the v/ork an authentic illustration of th^ 
period of Elaine, while that of Rosenthal ■'-/as called by the 
critic of the News Letter "a picture sugge.=!ted by Tennyson's 
'Elaine', that co\ild not by any manner of means be called an 
illustration of it," 

POETIC APPRECIATION IN THE 'BO'S 

Continuing later, this critic thus evalut'tes Tojet- 
ti's painting: 

"Before looking at this -picture 'Elaine', in 
order to thoroughly apprecif^te its beauties, 
a careful. perusal is necessary of that r)nrt 
of the poem beginning v;ith Elaine's dying re- 
quests aad ending with the couplet which is 
the text of the picture. By doing so the vis- 
itor will realize he is viewing a work which 
is p faithful illustrption of the Idyl, as 
well as a mpgnificent wr^rk of art. A view of 
Tojetti's picture v'ill oroduce a feeling of 
pleesurable satisfaction, not unmixed with 
pain, as we are reminded of the fate of the 
Fair Maid of Astolat. One does not feel, in 
looking at it, as if the rrtist hrd been spar- 
ing of his time in elaborrtlng his work, or 
had tried in any m-'^nner to improve upon the 



35 



sentiment as given by the poet. It is, in 
truth, the poem en cueros, and. will take its 
place as being by fa.r the most important and 
interesting work of art yet produced in San 
Francisco, Our art patrons can but think that 
artists such as Tojetti, who execute commis- 
sions with that strict regard for the high 
sense of honor which is due from the artist 
to his patron, are well worthy of patronage." 

Among other of Tojetti 's better known works were 
the "Madonna"; "Progress of America"; an allegory, "Night"; 
and his large canvas "Venus", The last named canvas attract- 
ed a great deal of attention and interest from the public as 
well as the critics of the day. It --fas nude, clmost life 
size. The artist said that he experienced difficulty secur- 
ing suitable models and as a result had to use different mod- 
els for various parts of the figure. Perhar)s this v/as respon- 
sible for one criticism which suggested that while the body 
was that of a mature voluptuous woman, the her.d w?3 that of 
an innocent young girl, "Venus" was painted to the order of 
Mr. Parrott^ and after a brief exhibition in the Art Associa- 
tion rooms in San Francisco, v/as sent to Boston and later to 
London a.nd Paris for exhibition purposes. 

Signer Tojetti Vv'as res")onsible for much of the point- 
ing which decorated the Catholic Churches of Srn Francisco. 
Unfortunately these, vv'ith his other frescoes were lost in the 
great fire of 1906 v,'hich destroyed so many of eerly San Fran- 
cisco's art trefsures. Chief among these Church decorations 
were the frescoes and altar piece rt the old St. Ignatius. 
These represented the ascension of St, Ignatius, and consist- 



36 



ed of a main center piece with side scrolls and. panels. Per- 
haps of all the various types of ^oainting in which Tojettl en- 
gaged In San Francisco, this, his Church work, v;as the most 
successful. He was fitted for ">ainting of this nature by his 
previous experience in Rome, the center of religious painting, 
and by his personal intimate l:noy/ledge of Church history end 
decoration. 

MANSIONS AND FRISCO PAINTING 



In the fresco decoration of the homes of San Fran- 
cisco's "upper ten", the Tojettig also found a fertile field 
for their art. Their best icnown exa-nnles of this class of 
work were the Mrrk Hopkins mansion and the palatial home of 
Mr. Fair. In this regard it is interesting to note that the 
News Letter, erstwhile ch'-^'mpion of Tojetti's art, ran a 
lengthy article, entitled "Tojetti's Snleen", published in 
1880; it indiC'.ted an about face as far as their critical o- 
pinion was concerned. Generally speaking this publication 
had praised his v.'ork, but the article mentioned was published 
with the dual purpose of warning vre? Ithy San Franciscans a- 
gainst his decor.' tive '■■,ork and at the same time to "tone down 
Tojetti's intense vanity". There was an intense rivalry be- 
tween the Tojettis and Signer Garibaldi^ who was a well known 
Italian fresco painter engf^ged to fill some Important commis- 
sions in San Francisco. Q,uoting from this article: 



37 



" It would not be out of place to mention 

here that much of Tojetti's spleen may be 
traced to the fact that G-arlbaldl once refused 
for a consideration of #200 to approve an 
indifferent painting for which he, Tojetti, 
was to receive $1000 if such approval was 
given. In a thousand ways Garibaldi has as- 
sisted his maligner. He has given Tojetti 
work when he was penniless, has advanced him 
money for work not yet performed, and more 
than all — has instructed him in what he knows. 
Yet now this viper bites the breast that warms 
it into life. In our opinion he deserves the 
contempt of all honest men, and especially of 
his fellow artists. Certain it is, however, 
that his vindictive whinings can do no harm 
to a man as well known throughout Europe and 
America and so m.uch admired as G-. G. Garibaldi. " 

ONE WITH HIS ERA AMD IDEALS 
It seems only fair to discount such criticism when 
motivated by personal animosity, and as for teaching Tojetti 
what he knew, it should not be forgotten that Tojetti was not 
only well known but distinguished in European and Roman art 
circles long before he came within the ken of either the News 
Letter or Garibaldi in San Francisco. In reviewing the art- 
ist's work, it is interesting to note Just how controversial 
were the opinions of his ability. Even of the same picture 
there were usually two distinct and directly opposite camps 
of criticism and thought. It does not add to the value of his 
works to find that often the same critic seemed to blow hot 
and cold on Tojetti's art. The mere feet that his work did 
arouse such interest with the art loving nublic and his so- 
called critics, seems to prove that it had its merits as an 
effective expression of the art ideals and popular taste of 



38 



San Francisco's decades before the twentieth century. 

Signer Dominico Tojetti,at the age of seventy-five, 
died at his home, 223 Leavenworth Street, San Francisco, March 
28,1892. He was survived by his wife,, daughter, and two sons. 
To the Tojetti family for faithful work and teaching, their a- 
dopted home gives gratitude, but also because they spread a 
large m.easure of popular enthusiasm for the art and culture 
of the Old World to tlie young city of San Francisco. 
HIS .SONS FOLLOW ART 

Tojetti 's two sons, Virgil and Eduardo, were both 
born in Rome. Later in San Francisco they studied art with 
their gifted father, and doubtless much of their later suc- 
cess was due to this training. Virgil, or Virgilio, had so 
far profited by his father's training that when the famed 
Garibaldi painted his frescoes in the Baldwin Academy, he e- 
lected Virgilio to help him. The elder Tojetti collaborated 
with indifferent success on several pictures with his son. 
These were signed "The Tojettis", or "Tojetti & Son". Vir- 
gilio later went to Paris where he studied with G-erome and 
Bougerau. He settled down in New York about 1883, where his 
pretty geni^e pictures and frescoes became quite popular. Some 
of his compositions were "Birth of Venus", "Sorrow", "The 
Feast of Flora", and "The Senses", He also executed many mur- 
als in New York, among them panels for the Savoy Hotel and 
the Hoffman House. Virgilio Tojetti died in New York in 1901, 
at the age of fifty-one. 



39 



The other son of Tojettl, Eduardo, was also an am- 
bitious artist, although not as successful or as well known 
as his father and younger brother. He studied with his father 
and later with other Italian artists in Rome. He designed 
the murals in the diamond palace of Colonel Andrew and had 
also several mural panels in old St. Ignatius Church and Col- 
lege. One of his oils, titled "Nude", is in the permanent 
collection of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco. Eduardo 
made his home in San Francisco, where he died in 1930, at the 
age of seventy-nine. 



40 



SIGNOR DOI/ilinCO TOJETTI 
REPRESENTATIVE 
WORKS 

Portrait of the Late Ii/Iark Hopkins 

Nude 

Battle with the Centaurs 

Romeo and Jullot 

Francesca da Rimini 

California 

Elaine 

Portrait of llbrs. Ashley 

Progress of America 

Madonna 

Venus 

Night 

Ophelia 

Portrait of Mrs. Will Irwin 

Study of Horses Heads 

The Holy Family 

Portrait of G-eneral Grant 



41 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

The Calif ornian~Vol, 2— July 1860. October 1880 

The American Art Annual, 1903 

The Overland Monthly — Vol. 15 — July, December 1875 

The Bay of San Francisco — Vol. 2 

The San Franciscan — Vol. 3 — April, May 1885 

San Francisco News Letter, 1873-1685 

Cyclopedia of Painters and Painting, 
Scribners 1913— Vol. 4 

San Francisco Chronicle 1881-1930 

San Frrncisco Evening Bulletin, 1375 



\ 



THADDEUS WELCH 

1844 1919 

Biography and Works 




"UT. tai;alpai5" 



42 



THADDEUS TOLCH 

There were many colorful characters who found their 
way into the glamorous days of tiie ' sixties and on toward the 
end of the -century, in San Francisco, and many were destined 
to be known nationally and intei-natlonally by their genius 
and achievenents ir. letters and t}-e arts. The latent talents 
of many of these vanderers, without doubt, were brought to 
the surface and developed through an enthusiastic interest on 
the part of a public which, though rough and sometimes unin- 
formed, paid cloir'e attention to the cultural side of the 
roaring life of the G-olden Port, 

Out of the Qregon frontier woods, in 1866, drifted 
our Thaddeus Welch, a young tramp printer who was determined 
to make his way and name, as an artist in oils, an interpre- 
ter of Nature's beauties and colors. And for more than half 
a century he studied and worked until he had gained recogni- 
tion as one of the truly great naturalistic artists. 

Thad Welch became known as the "painter of Marin" 
and his canvases of that northern county, with its softly- 
rounded hills and v;ooded slopps, noiv hang in galleries, 
clubs and homes the world over. His rare gifts, however, 
were not confined to nature studies; but also found an out- 
let in portraits and in studies of domestic animals. As 
early as 1880, during his student days abroad, years be- 



43 



fore recognition came to him in San Francisco, he was awarded 

three bronze medals for works exhibited in Munich and Paris. 

A prophetic com.ment of the period appeared in the " Calif or- 

nlan" of July, 1830: 

"Three pictures are exhibited by Messrs. 
Morris and Kennedy vrhich are T'/ell worthy of 
attention, botli for their Intrinsic merit 
and from the fact that the painter of them 
is a ralifornian. They are the work of Ifr. 
ThadcVus V/elch, who we understand left San 
Francisco to study in Europe some years aap, 
and is at present in Paris. We have seen 
the works of many young Americans who have 
studied abroad but we do not remember to 
have seen many which so completely Justify 
the painters of them in having gone abroad 
as do these cf I/Ir. Welch. 

"It is too often the misfortune of young 
Americans in Europe to find that they have 
learned the language of color without hav- 
ing anything to say in It. Ivlr. Welch, how- 
ever, shows in his pictures that he has 
studied the technical side of his art, not 
for its own sake, but chiefly and rightly 
as a means of expression. His three pic- 
tures all indicate that the workman has 
passed his apprenticeship, and feels an 
easy confidence in handling his tools. 
But, above and beyond this technical skill, 
they indicate gifts in the painter which 
will make us watch his development with 
the greatest interest. His subjects and 
his treatment of them show a wide sympathy 
with man and nature. " 

THE PIONEER CRAFTSr.IAN AND ARTIST 
There was something about the versatility of the 
man whlcli make? one wonder how Nature sometimes doles out In- 
dividual gifts of genius in abundance. Welch was not only a 



44 



master artist with a wide range of subjects, but he v/as also 
an inventor, a natural craftsman in the noods and an able 
builder when resourcefulness and building sense were required. 
During his long tramps with his second v/ife, Ludwilla Pilat, 
through the forests — now called Muir woods — and over the Marin 
Hills they came to a steep ravine beyond the Redwood Canyon, a 
veritable wooded wilderness and they immediately selected it 
for their work shop and named it "Steep Ravine". Its precipi- 
tous sides wei'e covered with tall redwoods; laurel grew higher 
up in the glen and a small stream flowed at its base, on its 
way to the set.'.. 

Welch secured lumber in Ssn Francisco, had it ship- 
ped to Bolinas Bay, hauled fifteen miles to the ridge and 
lowered down into the ravine. Ke then built a cabin and he 
built well. He solved the water problem by rigging a two- 
bucket pulley, operated from the porch. When one bucket came 
up filled with sparkling spring water the other bucket would 
descend and fill itself. He solved the bath problem before 
he had finished the cabin. Some distance from the cabin the 
stream was bordered by a small sandy beach. Here he found a 
hot mineral spring. Wlien the tide was out a natural bathtub 
could be had by scooping out a hole in the sand and they were 
always assured of plenty of hot water. 

That Welch and Ludwilla were practical planners 
along vrith their artistic temperaments and dream moments, is 



45 



evidenced "by the fact that their nearest trading place for 
supplies was nine miles away, in Mill Valley, by the "Lone 
Tree Trr.il. " And the5:;e v/ere lean days as there were little 
and often no returns for extended periods for Welch's land- 
scapes. Keeping the cabin stocked seems not to have bother- 
ed them In the least. It was told by Bfe-s. Welch that one 
day their nearest neighbor down the slope, a dairy rancher, 
asked Welch what they subsisted on without occasional trips 
to Mill Valley and he replied, "mussels and mushrooms. " 
Then liter-. Welch discovered patches of mustard greens and 
dock and on the other slope the receding tides sometimes 
left onions, oranges and melons. Then there would be a day 
of feasting, Welch built an oven of clay and rock under the 
trees and there Mrs, Welch did her baking. She later said 
that the oven worked perfectly, in rainy season and out. 
Before the end of the five years they lived at 
"Steep Ravine" the cabin had been improved into a comfortable 
v/oodland dwelling with a mechanical work shop on a neighbor- 
ing hillside for diversion. 

THE INVENTOR AND PRINTER 
Years later after success had been won and they had 
moved to Santa Barbara he built a neat work shop beneath his 
studio and in the waning years of his life he spent as much 
time over the work bench as he did before his easel. He es- 
sayed the most delicate and original attempts at machine con- 



■IJ vn 



TBvyB selj 









'Ji^n: 



46 



traptlons. At this time he perfected a rapid shutter for a 
camera and his last successful invention was an electric 
dynamo with an entirely new method for generating current. 
To work with his hands, he said, vras surcease from constantly 
tantalizing pastoral visions and dreams. 

Another illustration of his resourcefulness may be 
found in his own private Journals. It had to do with the 
early period of his life v^hen he occasionally would be forced 
to give up his sketching and painting and return to typeset- 
ting and tramp printing or whatever he could find to do to 
get funds with which to continue his studies. He had gradu- 
ally been vrorklng his ^»ray south to San Francisco, He vrrote: 

WESTERN RANCHING 

"The completion of the Central and Union Pac- 
ific Railroad had knocked the bottom out of 
the printing business for many, and after 
haunting the printing offices in the vain 
hope of earning enough to keep from starving, 
I made a break for the country, to try my luck 
on a ranch again. 

"Only one who has tried it knows v^hat it is 
to work on a farm in California during har- 
vest time. Four o'clock in the morning until 
sunset, continually on the Jump except when 
the machine broke down, with the thermometer 
at one hundred and eighteen in the shade and 
the rapacious mow of the thresher crying for 
more straw, more straw. It was enough to 
take the starch out of even the m.ost seasoned. 
And when the wind blew, that made one's hair 
and whiskers stand on end with electricity, 
the machine became a veritable dynamo, and 
after the noon hour gave the feeder a shock 
up to his elbows. The horses were dry as a 
bone, the perspiration drying before it had 
time to wet the hair. 






;i-:£i.! 



47 



"Of one thing I was convinced, that one 
could not go to heaven if he had to work 
long pitching barley into a steam t?iresher. 
I couldn't think of cuss words bad enough; 
the heat and dust were unbearable but the 
barley be£irds stuck in my shirt and I often 
wondered if the shirts the old monks wore as 
a penance were anything like it. Regulus in 
his barrel of spikes wasn't in it. 

"What a relief it was when the harvest was 
over and the grain hauled to the depot. 
That was a pretty tough proposition also 
for ne, not being a heavy weight. The first 
sack that I tackled alnost made me throw up 
the Job. But I stuck to it and in a day or 
two could handle thera alright. 



A SKETCHING TOUR 

"In the meantime several of us determined to 
hunt a cool place when the summer's work 
should be over. Our party consisted of four 
besides myself. A two horse team and wagon 
carried us and our camping outfit. Our des- 
tination was Fall River Valley, 6iast of Mt. 
Shasta. I had my paints and brushes along; 
nothing smaller than Mt. Shasta would do in 
those days. 

"We were four or five days making thp trip. 
At old Fort Crook, on Fall River, I left the 
others and rode in a lumber wagon to Sharp 
Rock, on the North fork of the Shasta Butte, 
where I made a number of sketches. 

"At the same time, Clarence King with his 
party of geological surveyors were at the 
same j^lace, Gilbert Hunger, the artist, and 
Watkins the photographer were also of the 
party. H.R. Bloomer was at Sisson on the 
west side, so there wasn't much danger of 
Shasta getting away. Whe:^e I was, there was 
nothing but sand and sage brush, rocks, and 
rattlesnakes. One day I sat on a pile of 
lava that stuck out of the sand, and painted 
for several hours, I heard something rattle, 
but paid no attention, thinking that I had 



'ijo':) 



48 



perchance pushed against a rattle weed. The 
next day I looked under the rock where I had 
been p.eated and there he was as comfortable 
as you please. He had been only six inches 
from ray heel all the time I was painting the 
day before. 

"No other incident occurred to disturb my 
happy dreams, until my bete noir, penury, 
was again on my track and I sa^^r I must give 
Shasta a rest while I took a walk to Yreka 
to see how the printing business was flour- 
ishing. But there was no show for a stranger 
and the orospect commenced to look pretty 
blue. 



A WESTERN CAIvg FIRE 

"One evening while wandering in the outskirts 
of the town I came across a family of campers 
around & fire. The man of the outfit was fid- 
dling 'Soldier's Joy,' the lady smoking, I 
could not see her face, only the clay pipe 
protruding from a wilted sunbonnet. The chil- 
dren, two girls and two boys, were sprawled 
around the fire, in the dust and ashes. 

"The fiddler informed ne that he was traveling 
for his wife's health. We soon found that we 
had mutual friends and acquaintances and they 
invited me to share their bacon and other 
luxuries of which I stood in great need. Wan-' 
dering around without a nickel among strangers, 
I had about come to the conclusion that an art- 
ist's life is not what It is cracked up to be. 

"The solitude in that great pine forest in win- 
ter, when there Is four or five feet of snowj 
was something terrible. Every living thing, 
almost, seemed to have deserted it. One soli- 
tary bear hr.c crossed the road.. Not a chip- 
munk nor bird of ar^y kind was to be seen nor 
heard. Even the wind had ceased to rustle the 
pine needles. The stumps, v/here nien had felled 
the trees, were some company, as they sho^'ed 
that so::e nunsn being had been there. 3y dari^ 
I v/as about six miles from a deserted shingle- 
maker's cabin where I had left a piece of pork 
and a loaf of bread. 



49 



HUNGER IN THE SNOW 



"Travelling In the dark was impossible. The 
snow on the pine trees had thawed and fallen 
off in masses, making great holes into which 
I stumbled every minute. 



"I looked out for a place to build a fire and 
found a big sugar pine that had been blown 
down, making many splinters. But they were 
wet from the melted snow and my matches were 
almost gone before I coaxed the wood to burn. 
After the fire had melted the snow from the 
log, I pulled off a piece of bark about my 
size and after making it hot before the fire, 
stretched myself upon it until it became cold, 
then warmed it again — all this time I was 
thinking of the pork and breacl, and how if I 
should ever get to a place where there was e- 
nough to eat, I would never leave it, and what 
a fool I had b^en to do it this time. 



"I had never known what hunger was until that 
night. I tried to go on in the night, but had 
to give it up. I ate snovr^ chewed sticks, and 
finally tried the pan of lard. It was eleven 
o'clock the next morning before I reached the 
deserted, shingle-maker's cabin. I was so play- 
ed out that I could not enter it with any sort 
of dignity, but just rolled in, as the snow a- 
bout the door was almost as high as the cabin. 



"The pork was raw, the bread was full of frost, 
but I ate them both and then felt as though 
nothing had happened. By dark on the follow- 
ing day I was in camp. 



"Of course my reception was very warm, as they 
had hrd their doubts about seeing me again, 
and to tell the truth, I had some doubts my- 
self, of ever reaching their cabin. They were 
enthusiastic about their plan for going out 
with sleds, and they had been anxious about my 
welfare because they needed ma to pull one of 
the sleds. 



50 



SNOWSHOES AND TRAMP PRINTING 

"My experience had taught me something about 
snow, and I commenced to use my knowledge by 
making a pair of fine snow shoes, eight feet 
long, three inches wide, with nicely turned 
up toes. I cut and split a pine sapling and 
fashioned the pieces into something like my 
snow shoes and nailed them onto my sled run- 
ners, y/hen the others saw what I had done 
they pirated my invention. It was my private 
Intention to run av^ay from them the next day, 
which I did, making straight for Red Bluff to 
look for a printing office. 

"It was a fine day's tramp through slush and 
mud, only to find all the positions filled by 
young ladies who pulled their skirts aside as 
I passed, for I was about the v/orst looking 
tramp printer ever seen without the courage 
of the average tramp. This was about 1870. " 

WELCH EXHIBITS AND STUDIES ABROAD 
Welch was 30 years old before he was able to re- 
alize his dream of European study, but by 1874 he was ready 
to travel. By dint of his savings, working as a printer, 
an occasional commission to paint a portrait, and financial 
aid on the part of a believing sponsor, he was ready. After 
the arduous steamboat travels of that day he reached Munich 
where he established himself. For more than six years he 
studied. Working there and in Paris, he lived the life of 
the American art student abroad. He gained a certain recog- 
nition there, even in those days, his canvases being hung 
in Paris and Munich showings. 

One happening at this time had a direct bearing on 
the remaining years of Welchfe life and the Helen Vernon Reid 
narrative best tells this: 



51 



"By the time he left the Royal Academy, which 
was some time in the summer of 1878, Welch 
was doing excellent work and able to sell 
quite a few of his landscapes. Of course 
they did not bring large sums, but it proved 
to him that people were interested in his 
work and his time had not been spent in vain. 

"After leaving the Academy only nature and 
his own genius had anything to teach him. 
He formed quite a friendship for John H. 
Twachtmann, who was afterwards called the 
impressionist of America, The advice of 
Twachtmann was appreciated and Welch was 
therefore delighted to have been singled 
out from the rest as his companion, for his 
comradeship was always beneficial. They 
conceived quite a novel and inexpensive way 
of traveling about the country to paint, 
building a wagon, or cart, which served as 
a sleeping compartment, studio and kitchen 
combined. 



THE TRAILER-STUDIO OF 1680 'S 

"When this box-cart was folded up It was only 
about two feet high. Thus, when wishing to 
move to another town they folded up and were 
able to ship it by rail, many times dragging 
the wheels themselves when unable to obtain 
an old horse. 

"They wjire camping on the outskirts of a 
small Bavarian Village, where the farms were 
scattered but flourishing. On learning that 
the proprietor of the village inn was a rel- 
ative of an acquaintance of his in America, 
Twachtmann persuaded Welch that they put up 
at his hostelry for a time and enjoy the cer- 
tainty of well cooked meals and a comfortable 
bed. There were many bits to paint in the 
immediate vicinity and Welch gladly acceded 
to the plan. This gave them more time for 
painting than when they prepared their own 
meals and consequeitly these were busy and 
profitable days for the two artists. 



52 



WELCH AND TWACHTMANN 

AND THE 

INN KEEPER'S DAUGHTE R 

"The proprietor of the Inn wao a big, surly 
man, domineering over the gentle 'Vife who 
did all the cooking for the establishment; 
while their daughter, a pretty young girl 
of sixteen, waited on the table and assisted 
her mother in various ways in caring for the 
gueats. Welch was soon attracted to the re- 
fined, overworked wife and the pretty daugh- 
ter with an understanding bred from contact 
with similar conditions in his own family. 
He therefore felt a bond of sympathy with 
thera and an aversion for the dominating inn- 
keeper. Welch was all sympathy and told the 
girl if there was any thing he could do for 
her or her mother they had but ask him, 

"She smiled a wan little smile through her 
tears but shook her head, comforted, however, 
by the sympathy of the young artist. Welch 
and Twachtmann had already stirred her girl- 
ish inagino.tion by their pictures, which vrere 
different from those made by the daubers who 
occasionally stopoed at her father's inn. 
Their pictures portrayed faithfully the 
places, which were familiar to her from child- 
hood, and the fact that they were' thought 
v;orthy subjects for their canvases, filled 
her with delight. Therefore she always hover- 
ed about the inn door to catch a glimpse of 
the new sketches as the artists returned each 
evening from the day's work. The artists 
were young and that they were pleased vvith her 
honest admiration for their pictures she well 
knew, for youth has a way of sensing those 
things. 

"Welch took keen pleasure in showing her his 
work and looking for approbation in her beau- 
tiful eyes. How. much he cared for her inter- 
est in him he was not aware until one after- 
noon returning earlier than usual from their 
sketching they found the young girl seated 
by the roadside. She was evidently waiting 
for their coming for she arose as soon as 
they appeared and approached them. It could 
plainly be seen that she had been crying and 



53 



was somewhr't excited, though there was a new 
detorninatlon in her "bearing. She quickly 
told them of added cruelties of her father 
and of her determination to leave home. 
That they were leaving the inn on the fol- 
lowing morning she kne;v, as they had hired 
a norse to dxaw their cart. 



THE TLIGHT. "A TROIS" FROI/I CRUELTY 

"This seened an opportunity not to be over- 
looked; could she go with them? They could 
leave her at any torm remote from her home, 
she said, end she was certain to find employ- 
ment as she "/as domestic. She could keep 
house better than any girl of her age, in the 
village, she ended with natural pride. Sym- 
pathy is certainly akin to love but it was 
anything but syr.pathy that made Welch's heart 
flutter strangely in bis breast and his voice 
was unsteady as he assured her that she could 
go with them. 

"Twachtmann was not lacking in sympathy but 
hesitated about taking her as he feared he 
would be held in a bad light by his friend 
in America, for abetting his relative in leav- 
ing home. Ho'vever, his opposition was over- 
ruled, and they determined to leave on the 
following morning before daybreak, notifying 
their host that they would make an early start 
and not require any breakfast. 

"They arose accordingly three hours before 
they were supposed to start to avoid compli- 
cations. Their fair passenger met them by 
appointment on the outskirts' of the village; 
a small bag containing a few clothes and her 
mother* s picture being all she took with her. 
Although the horse traveled slowly they made 
considerable progress, having such an early 
start, and as the day advanced were far dis- 
tant from the inn. 

"During these passing hours Welch had been 
vnr'apt in thought, and the occasional ques- 
tions he asked their fair companion were all 
bearing on the subject of his meditations. 
It was thought advisable for Twachtmann to 



I 



54 



procure something for their noon meal from 
a farn-house, and during the interval of his 
absence Welch chatted with the young girl 
and finally disclosed his plan. 

"He had little or nothing, he told her, but 
a good name and the ability to paint, which 
should eventually provide a good living; she 
had a keen sympath~y for art and if she could 
reclT5rocatc his affection for her, he thought 
they' could help each othtsr and he had better 
become her protector for life. She blushlngly 
admitted that she cared. 



THE I'/IARFJAGE IN TRANSIT 

"To Twachtmann's surprise they v/ere married 
by a civil magistrate that very evening, he 
being the groom's only attendant. Shortly 
after this Twachtmann parted from them, re- 
turning to Munich, Welch and his bride jour- 
neying on through the country. 

"Unfortunately, the dispositions of the young 
couole were at variance and later proved some- 
thing to be conjured ^ath. The young "dfe was 
a practical, frugal housewife, and the young 
husband with a highly developed artistic tem- 
perament, v/as anything but practical and lack- 
ed the'':)rimal elements of a business man. 
Therefore, though he did excellent work, he 
received little for it and there was seldom 
enough in the larder to keep them well nour- 
ished, 

"The young wife, discouraged by the lack of 
Judgment, developed in consequence an irrit- 
able, nagging disposition, which in turn 
brought violent outbreaks over the slightest 
trifle. 

"Therefore the following four years were full 
of suffering for this unfortunate ' couple. 
Twice he left his wife for a few weeks, think- 
ing that when apart they could better see 
their problem and re-establish harmony on his 
return, but to no avail. 



55 



"There were two children born of thj s unJon — 
a boy and a girl; the latter one reaching ma- 
turity, evincing decided artistic ability. In 
this the daughter, now Mrs. Fanny Welch Pils- 
worth, supports herself by her art and compe- 
tent critics prophesy that in time she will 
make a name for herself, independent of any 
association with her renowned father. 

"On learning that his father-in-law was dead, 
Welch made arrangements for his wife to return 
to her mother at the inn and there to raise 
the children, he contributing as best he could 
to their support. During these unhapny years 
Welch departed from his temperate ways and 
formed the habit of indulgence which later 
caused him and one very dear to him., great 
suffering. 

"On leaving G-ermany for Paris he obtained a 
legal separation. " 

AWAY FROM DOI^ffiSTIC LIFE AITO TO U.S.A. 

The famed views of Ivlunich and Welch's temperamental 
unrest built a convivial urge and sometimes a craving for 
spirits in later years which threatened the spark of his ar- 
tistic genius. 

But he was off to America for the realization of 
his hopes. One incident is recorded in connoction with his 
sailing that illustrates the resourcefulness of the man — also 
his impetuous nature. 

Duvenick, a celebrated portrait painter of the time, 
and Welch had become good friends and the artist induced Welch 
to sit for a picture. This was done in the studio of William 
M, Chase. The picture was life size and all were enthusiastic 



56 



about it. When preparing to sail Welch faced the problem of 
what to do with the larg:e canvas as he had no thought of 
leaving It behind. He finally cut out the head and shoulders. 
Fortunate it is, that this has been preserved as it has been 
declared to be a remarkable portrait. 

AMERICAN PAINTERS ACCEPT PARIS AND IvIUNICH I.IAKNERS 

Concerning V/elch's return the Reid narrative read: 

"Conditions in the art world were greatly 
changed when Welch returned to America In 
the Spring of 1881. Although he had not 
been Identified with it before his sojourn 
In Europe, the fact was overv/helmingly appar- 
ent that the revolution In art hp.d not been 
confined to the continent. 

"During 1875-1876, a group of young American 
painters returned from France trained in the 
newest methods of the French school, becom- 
ing In many lnsta.nces teachers In our art 
schoola find then spreading the knowledge of 
the new technioue until the French method of 
teaching has become the basis of Instruction 
in this coantry. 

"They met at first vrith considerable opposi- 
tion from the older men of the National Acad- 
emy of Design who regarded them somewhat as 
revolutlor ists, disturbers of almost aacred 
traditions, troublesome and dangerous and not 
to be encouraged. 

"However, John La Farge, the famous landscape 
painter, v/ithout hesitation gave them encourage- 
ment and support, and by his asslstM.nco the "So- 
ciety of American Artists" was founded In 1877. 
Tlierefore i?'hen the second .c^roup of raintcrs re- 
turned with all the novel and revolutionary meth- 
ods of the iiunlch and Paris schools, they found 
students at home had already assimilated the In- 
spiration of the best of the French masters 



,fi. fiV.' 



57 



of landscape, but they had asslnllated It on 
a basis of native training and practice. 

"Consequently, Welch found the American stu- 
dents and art-loving public fully acquainted 
with the nev; school and its achievements and 
heartily responsive to the \vork of a student 
from abroa.d. " 

Welch, following his arrival in New Yorl', went at 
once to the home of one of the sponsors for his studies a- 
broad on the Hudson near Osslning. He went in for the por- 
traiture and landscapes around the district. It was one day 
whiile he was sketching in a wooded creek he'd called "Devil's 
Steps" that he encountered Ludvrllla Pllat, a school girl of 
Austrian parentage, anri here opened the im'^ortant chapter of 
his life. 

WELCH'S SECOI'iD MARRIAGE AND TRAVELS 
The girl was the daughter of Ccrl Pllat, an exiled 
Austrian, and early displayed artistic abilities which Welch 
developed. Needless to say, the friendship 7/lth Ludwllla 
ripened into a real love and after one year they were married. 
Until their deaths in California thej'' were constant In their 
devotion to one anothe:' and to their art. 

Then Welch accepted commi scions — r.ostly for por- 
traits — in Boston and New York until a letter from Twachtmann, 
his old Bavarian companion, took blm to Philad.elplila to paint 
a cyclorama of "The Battle of Get! ys'^urg. " Other similar com- 



58 



mlBsions followed and years of wanderings included Chicago, 
Denver, Salt Lake and Australia until 1892 found the couple 
in San Francisco, their goal for nine years. 

A difficult period for a time in California, fi- 
nally found the two in a small cabin in Marin County and 
there a great artist found himself. 

From all accounts, Welch vras a droll sort with a 
keen sense of humor, but aggresh^^ively determined once he had 
made up his mind, where his art or finished canvases were 
concerned. When he had made a decision, he held to it, even 
though a she wolf and litter were howling at his cabin door. 

HIS PHILOSOPHY OF WORK 

A story is told of an important American engineer 
who called at his studio in Santa Barbara to give him a com- 
mission for a Marin landscape for one of the large Philadel- 
phia clubs. The artist accepted the order and when the suc- 
cessful citizen asked the cost Welch replied that it would 
be $5,000. The price was satisfactory and the Philadelphian 
then said: 

"Now, what we want, lUr, Welch, is a painting six 
feet high and nine and one-half feet across, not including 
the frame. We have Just the place waiting for it. " 

"That space will remain bare if it is held for ore 
of my landscapes. What you are looking for is a sign painter," 
the artist said as he escorted him to the door. 



59 



Although Welch paintings did not run to such pro- 
portions, he would not have accepted the commission even had 
he and llrs. Welch been in want. He resented accepting meas- 
urements for a masterpiece of his ovn creation. 

The hills and meadows of San G-eronimo Vallejj Calif- 
ornia had long appealed to the artist and in time he and Lud- 
willa Welch acquired a small cottage there where they fre- 
quently went to slietch and to procure chanp;e from the fogs 
and rigorous clim.ate of the Marin hills. One day a friendly 
neighboring rancher, who marvelled at the early and late hours 
the two Welches worked, stopped at Welch's easel and asked 
him what hours he worked. Welch replied: 

"Not union ones, anyway. I begin about six o'clock 
in the morninp;, and far earlier in the summer and I am at 
work until twilight drops her curtain over the world. I do 
not mean that I am working all the time, but I am sketching 
early and late, because Nature ia in her softest moods early 
in the day and again after the sun is low or beneath the hori- 
zon altogether." Then he added with a quizzical twist of his 
lips, "I v;ork longest when I have an order, or when the lard- 
er is empty. " 

In this reply to his rancher friend he gave him, 
in addition to his quip concerning hours, his overpowering 
thoughts concerning Nature's treatment of the early morn- 
ing lights and the soft evening shadows. He was truly a 
student of Nature. 



rii Bl-"-r' 



60 



CxHITICISMS 

Critics in any branch of artistic endeavor have not 

always agreed and this is true of the works of Thad Welch. 

While the constant praise from some vas fulsome, yet others 

were not completely'' convinced. One, Professor Eugene Neuhaus 

of the University of California says of Welch in his "History 

of American Art": 

"A popular and successful painter of his day — 
his artificial landscapes of the Mount Tamal- 
pais region, painted under the horizontal 
light of early morning, quickly captivated 
an uncritical public which \vas quite carried 
awey by the sweetly saccharine unnatural col- 
or of his paintings. At his best at the be- 
ginning of hip career he was an able painter, 
a fairly close student of nature who has some 
fine things to hie credit. 

"His work, however, rapidly declined, his' light 
effects becoming distorted and theatrical, his 
color tiiin and hasty £i!^ he yielded to the in- 
creasing demands for paintings which his talent 
could not supply with new and fresh themes, E- 
ventually he lost all contact with nature and 
repeated himself so often that one is sometimes 
moved to question the authenticity of the many 
canvases attributed to him.. " 

A FRAUDULEMT CANVAS 
At least, the last thought in Professor Neuhaus 
reviev/ is borne out by the facts. After his popularity grew 
apace follov/ing his "discovery" by the Bohemian Club in San 
Francisco, the demand for his work became general but the 
public unsatisfied. Spurious Welch canvases began to make 
an appearance and many of these were sold for large sume. 
One flagrant case of this kind happened during the last year 



61 



of his life. As told to ^ close friend by Welch, an amazing 

fraud was perpetrated: 

"A ladjr in Monterey bought a painting suppos- 
edly by Welch, from a local art dealer for 
eight hundred dollars. It was painted along 
traditional Welch lines with Tamalpais for 
the background and a group of homeward bound 
cows in the foreground. 

"It sold as a Welch of great merit, exquisite 
coloring and soulful interpretation of Nature 
in her rarest mood. The lady had the paint- 
ing forv/arded to her palatial home in Monter- 
ey and shortly after invited a select circle 
of artists from the colony at Carmel-by-the- 
Sea. 

"Pointing to her treasure, she said, 'There is 
a beautiful Welch. How do you like it? ' 

"'Great." chorused the company. 

"But one guest merely remarked, 'Hum', and 
looked thoughtful. Tlien he explained, 
'That's not a V/elch. It's a fake.' After 
the excitement subsided, the lady sent the 
painting down to Santa Barbara to Thad Welch. 
He returned the picture in due time with the 
following scribbled across the back: 'This 
is a poor copy. — Thad Welch. ' 

"The art dealer was notified of the fraud and 
he refunded the money immediately — the 
lady then buying a genuine Welch landscape 
for thirteen hundred fifty dollars. 

"Shortly after leaving 'Steep Ravine' an 
exact copy of one of Welch's paintings was 
on exhibition in a local art store, signed 
with the copyist's name. 

"Welch was indignant and sought out the art- 
ist, who denied that it was a copy and said 
he had painted it from nature in the ravine 
below the Welch cabin. At which Welch point- 
ed out that a large tree on the left of the 
picture was not growing by the roadside, but 
he, Welch, had added it to his painting to 
give it a better foreground. 



to:tT' 



62 



"The artist grew confused. He had copied the 
tree in detail. " 

On the other hand, Mr, A. L, Gump of San Francisco, 
the dean of the art dealers whose taste connects the old cre- 
ative d.aj'-s of natural realism in western outdoor painting 
with the more modernistic treatments of today, maintains a 
different view of Welch's work. Mr. G-ump knew Thad Welch 
well as his "dealer", perhaps better than his critics, for 
Mr, Gump says: 

"Thad Welch had the perfect eye for color — 
he was a real student of Nature. Nature was 
his greatest teacher. He was convinced that 
along toward the end of his trail he had tru- 
ly caught Nature's spirit. He would not lis- 
ten to a well-intentioned and a sincere sugges- 
tion. He permitted nothing to come between 
himself and his interpretation of Nature. To 
my mind this determination, coupled with his 
genius made him one of the greatest realistic 
painters who ever lived. " 

WELCH IN MARIN COUNTY 



"That he had an impressionistic mind with a 
wonderful retentive scenic memory may be re- 
alized by the fact that he painted mostly from 
rough sketches made in the field. Most of his 
greater oils were done in his studio, where- 
ever that might happen to be, from his careful 
studies in the open. He really found himself 
in the Marin hills and his work done there ivill 
live. He took a master artist's advantage of 
the offering of the early morning play of light 
in the trees and on the flov/ered rounded Iferln 
hills and also, the sombre shades of the early 
evening, 

"The Welch canvases will live. They are fair- 
ly well scattered over the country, but one — 
'Mt. Tamalpals* — hanging in the Family Club In 



n 

id ^aoi^Iic >Irf aor!? 'tgj^ocf sqexiieq ,''i3las5;* &iri 8fl flaw 

'to r-.- tcl 9V9 " 



1 



63 



San Francisco, I consider one of the finest 
naturalistic paintings ever made. 

"I came to know Welch very well toward the end 
of his Marin days, and it came about In an un- 
usual way. Ke and his wife had roamed the Mar- 
In hills, sketching, painting and trying to do 
something worthwhile. But it was a period of 
stern realities for them as there was little 
demand for his work and the cabin's larder was 
frequently empty. Then, one day two hiking 
members of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco 
happened along the trail where he was at work. 
They visited, became Interested and in the end 
bought and walked away with tv'o canvases — that 
marked the beginning of Welch's success. 

"From that time on all vras plain sailing. The 
couple moved to San Francisco where he opened 
a studio in the late '90' s and he gained a 
lasting recognition. He became a member of the 
Bohemian Club, took an active Interest In the 
San Francisco vrorld of art and letters, and 
produced some of his best work here from the 
sketches he had made In the field. And from 
that tine on I think I handled the most of his 
canvases, and our dealings and friendship were 
very pleasant, indeed." 



PRICES AND PATRONAGE 



But the sudden success of this quiet man from the 
hills developed Jealousies and more imitators. The San 
Francisco Chronicle said of an Incident that occurred at a 
Bohemian Club exhibition.: 



"A certain man of San Francisco v;ho does some 
of the most faithful and interesting scenes 
placed a tag of tv^o hundred and fifty dollars 
on one of his pictures. This was like a red 
flag to the man who knows everything from com- 
merce to art and science, and he sent angry 
queries over several telephone wires, seeking 
the person who had so presumed. One defendant 



64 



Into wliose ears rattled one of these messages 
asked why the man's estimate of this worlc should 
be questioned and was told: 

"Oh he is hard up and will be glad to take less" 

"But the man. who at times when the wolf has 
clamoret? too' savagely at his door held to his 
price, declined to let his poverty be the stan- 
dard by vrhlch his work should be Judged. " 

Says Town Talk at this tine: 

"Singly and together the impressionistic art- 
ists of San Francisco have tried to sneer Thad 
Welch into obscurity. But Thad is pursuing 
profitably his art and continues to oaint hill- 
sides and trees in the colors that God has giv- 
en them. They rashly permitted Welch to enter 
the Bohemian Club exhibition. All his paintings 
sold. Most of the daubers who sneered at his 
work had to Day return cartage on their own 
masterpieces. " 

Welch sor^ns not to have interested himself in any- 
thing but his determined efforts and studies toward artistic 
expression. His frequent return to the printing trade was 
solely for the purpose of securing funds with which to carry 
on in his chosr-n art work, Hovevcr, he had one great nation- 
al hero v/ho was far removed from the art world — Abraham Lin- 
coln. Ke often talked of his belief in the man and his i- 
deals and it is probable that he was led to the study of Lin- 
coln from two incidents in his early life. 

IN THE Tlim OF T.INCOLN 
At the cabin home in the Oregon woods it was a great 
day when the Infrequent mails brought letters from a remote 



65 



v:orld. His favorite aunt was Laura J. Foster of Springdale, 
Ohio, and her letters would be read and reread. Later, "Aunt 
Laura" was married to Colonel Jesse Harper who nominated 
Lincoln for the Presidency at the famous Chlca§;;'0 convention. 
Some years later v.-hile Thad was workin^^ on "The Oregonian" 
came the Emancipator's assassination and the paper rushed out 
an extra on the mea^^re details at hand. He became the press- 
man for the extia and on an old iirp'ss that came "round the 
Horn, " and launched it, all the time wondering what his "Aunt 
Laura" was thinking of the tragedy. He often told of how 
seventy-five dollars worth of "Th.3 Cregonians" extras were 
sold at ten cents a copy, and that this une::pected revenue 
was donated to the United States Sanitary Commission, an or- 
ganization soine'.vhat similar to today's Red Gross, 

PI QUEER PARENTAGE 
Thad V/elch's early education perhaps was the same 
as most of the pioneer youth of that period with the possible 
exception that even as a young boy he showed a determination 
to gain real learning at ^"hatever cost. After the wagon trek 
across the plains the Welch and Smith families took up and 
cleared land on Panther Creek, four miles fi'om the little 
frontier settlement of Mc Minneville, Orefron. Thad was then 
three years old. His father, Russell Welch, a woodsman and 
lumberjack, had inherited just enough Indian blood — his moth- 
er being a quarter-blood — to make him unsympathetic toward 



66 



frailty or the inability to withstand the rigors and toll 
connected with building a home and farm in the Oregon woods. 
So his early years were not pleasant ones. Although never 
sturdy, at the age of eight he was working like a man in the 
fields. Being of delicate build and dreamy nature he was 
unsuited for the arduous life, being in no respect like his 
father. 

As one early biographer described this trying time 



for Thad: 



"Russell Welch was known to be the finest axe- 
man in Oregon, chopping a tree six ' feet in 
diameter without changing his position, first 
swinging his axe to the right anci then to the 
left. This stockily built muscular man who 
did not know his own strength could not esti- 
mate the weakness of his delicate little son, 
attributing the boy's inertia to laziness; he 
never recognized his efforts, was alv?ays se- 
vere and occasionally beat him. From carry- 
ing logs during the period when most children 
are playing, one of Thad's shoulders remained 
through life perceptibly lower than the other. 

"It was necessary to clear more ground each 
year of its Virgin growth in order to extend 
the grain fields and the apple orchard. After 
the trees were felled Russell Welch would make 
his son grub-cut the roots of the scrub oak, 
a difficult task even for a man. 

"There was always a keen sympathy and under- 
standing, however, between Thad and his moth- 
er. She v;ould have willingly shielded him 
from the heavy work which his father forced 
upon him, but there were other children com- 
ing in rapid succession who needed ' her care 
and attention and Thad, her eldest, though 
physically unfit, must assume his place be- 
side his father in the work on the farm. 

"Life was drudgery also for the wife and 
mother of the seven little bovs and two 



67 



little girls who followed Thad; a life at 
times made almost unbearable by the surly 
disposition of her dominating husband. " 

Thad's mother, gentle born and well educated for 
that period, gave \A;hatever sympathy and help to her eldest 
when time could be spared from the care of the cabin and her 
brood. She early sensed an artistic nature and encouraged 
its development in any way she. could. There were few books 
and no luxuries ao all supplies came around the Horn. His 
early love for music was pronounced although there was little 
to be heard in the district. It is said that some one asked 
Thad when he was about eleven v.hat he most ^vanted and he 
replied: 

"An accordian and a pair of shoes. " 

About this tine in order to obtain ten dollars for 
a violin, he cut eight cords of wood for a neighbor. It was 
necessary for him to do this v^ork in evenings and on Sunday 
as he could not shirk his regular farm work. 

HIS EARLY RESPONSIBILITIES 
But with few opoortunitles he was a student — he 
thought as a student. All through his life he was an original 
thinker and although he summed up his schooling as a total of 
two years and eight months, he was a highly cultured individ- 
ual and could converse on many profound subjects. From the 
boy days on the farm reading by the light from a rag in a 
pan of lard, through his tramp printing days and later he 



I 



68 



mo 
ma 



was an inveterate and careful reader. 

When he wac fifteen he ran away from home with his 
ther's consent to become a blacksmith apprentice and to re- 
in away from his father. Sometime later his father heard 
the call from the California gold fields. When the boy re- 
ceived this word he returned to the farm to help his mother. 
After many months the father returned from the gold fields 
with a few hundred dollars, installed some needed improve- 
ments and soon afterward went away again, leaving the re- 
sponsibility for the family of ten on the shoulders of eight- 
een year old Thaddeus. The father went away again and was 
never heard from afterward. 

After many talks between Thad and his mother it was 
decided that he should go to Portland to learn the printer's 
trade and, at the sane time, send a few dollars home while 
the next two oldest boys assumed the farm responsibility. 
He journeyed to Portland in the spring of 1863, took up his 
abode in an abandoned boat on the Willamette River and se- 
cured work as a printer's apprentice at the old Walling Print- 
ing Office and there was launched one of the most interesting 
artistic careers of the many centering in California, fol- 
lowing the Gold Rush. 

Thad had mastered the Intricacies of typesetting 
and printing at twenty but he had little thought of follow- 
ing it for his life's work. It was to be only a means to an 
end, and this trade stood him Ln good stead many times in the 



r 



69 



years to follow. He dreamect of a. more artistic medium of ex- 
pression and his natural drift to art perhaps is best told by 
his nost faithful biographer, Helen Vernon Held, in the Over- 
land Ifegazine in 1924: 

HIS FIRST "TlfeE PAII-ITS" 

"A few months prior to his leaving Walling' s 
Printing office an incident occurred which, 
slight in itself, nevertheless determined 
the future of Thad Welch. 

"One day Baron Von Taft ca'ne to the office. 
He was then an artist but in later years be- 
came ajDrominent playwright in Denmark. On 
this particular day he brought a bundle of 
water color- sketches, which he had made along 
the Columbia, to be bound in book form. In 
•looking these over^ Thad felt the impulse to 
paint; he was confident he could do work like 
this, and better, if he only had the tools, 
and for days he thought of these water color 
sketches and longed for an opportunity to try 
his hand. But the day's work must be done 
and so the weeks lengthened into months be- 
fore this seed thought began to germinate in 
a most unexpected way. 

"His Aunt Eleanor had been attending a board- 
ing school at Salem and came home with some 
paintings she had done in oil. They were 
merely crude copies but they fascinated Thad. 
He asked her v/hat kind of paint she used and 
she replied, 'Tube Paints'. 

"Not knowing what she meant and not wishing 
to display his ignorance before her, he went 
to an art store to inquire about it. The 
future artist was twenty at that time. From 
then on he' spent all his spare time and money 
for paints, v/orking all day in the office and 
at night trying to drav/ and paint. " 



70 



CALIFOHEIA. HIS WONDERLAND 

"When he was a child, California was the won- 
derland of Thad's fancy. Tales of the Argon- 
auts and descriptions of the Missions never 
failed to stimulate his longing to visit his 
Eldorado of the West. Upon receipt of a let- 
ter from his Aunt Jane Dixon, who had settled 
near Sacramento in the town which was named 
for her family, he decided to go to Califor- 
nia at the first opportunity,. He went. " 

Characteristic of Welch was a response to a request 

from "G-umps" for a sketch of his life. At this time there 

were ready sales for any work from his brush. He wrote to 

Mr. A.L. Gump from Santa Barbara in 1916: 

HIS BRIEF "AUTOBIOGRAPHY" 

"Dear Sir: 

"I have always been suroicious, when reading 
an autobiography, that the man never tells the 
truth about himself, but what I tell you now 
Is all tho truth, and nothing but tho truth — 
cross my heart. 

"I was born in Indiana, July 14, 1844. Crossed ^^ 
the plains, to Oregon in 1847. Learned the ^1 
printer's trade, and' came to California in '' 
1866. Went to Munich, to study art, in 1847, 
and remained there six years, securing three 
bronze medals. Studied in Paris three and one 
half years, and exhibited in the Salon in 1880. 
Lived in Boston, New York, and other places 
till 1892, v;hen 1 returned to California, where 
I expect to be buried, I v;as married in 1883, 
and not divorced yet and never stole anything 
worse than a watermelon. So help me God. 

Yours truly, 

(signed) Thad Welch. " 



I 



71 



Thaddeus Welch tells his life's story in this note 
to Mr. Gump. He died at Santa Barbara in December 1919. He 
died as he had lived — at work. 

Today "Thad" Welch's canvases appear in Historical 
Exhibitions of early California artists, while certain of his 
works are preciously tucked away in wealthy art dealer's stor- 
age vaults — and every now and then among the contents of a 
San Francisco home sold at auction — an authentic "Thad" Welch 
painting is disclosed and perhaps purchased by another Cali- 
fornia art patron as an appreciation of our landscape by this 
vigorous artist. 



72 



THADDEUS WELCH 

REPRESENTATIVE 

WORKS 



Rocky Point, Bolinas 

Marin County Hills 

Bolinas Bay, Iferln County 

The Steep Ravine 

Under the Fog 

Mount Tamalpais 

Among the Hills 

Golden Hour 

After the First Rain 

Brook Scene 

Marin Hills 

Jerusalem on the Day of Crucifixion 

The Ballarat Riots 

The Shoemaker 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Overland iJlagazine, March 1924 and A^ril 1924 

The Californian, July to December 1880 

History & Ideals of American Art by Neuhaus 

San Francisco Chronicle, December 20, 1918 

News Letter, March 3, 1877 

Wasp News Letter, September 29, 1934 

San Francisco & the Golden Empire by Woon (? ) 

The Argonaut, February 20, 1905 — June 1, 1907 



CHARLES D R lA A N ROBINSON 

1347 1933 

Biography and Works 




"DONNER LAKE" 



73 



CHARLES DOR^IAI^ ROBIl-ISON 

Among the sarly day San Francisco artists vrho re- 
ceived the greater part of their training in the United 
States was Charles Dorman Robinson, called by contemporary 
critics, "the dean of Pacific Cor.st artists." 

Robinson was among the first artists who exploited 
Yosemite Valley. His early canvases were excellent compo- 
sitions, although in later years his worlds became hasty prod- 
ucts of commercialism, A graduate of the "school of hard 
knocks" before he v;as an artist, Robinson was well satisfied 
v;ith the fundf< mentals of art, and the art life centered in 
San Francisco's elusive charms. 

His early local patronage of the '80' s and 'no's, 
included such names as Irving Scott, James D. Phelan, Fred- 
erick W. Zelle, Mx-B, Clark Crocker, Mrs. Charles McLaughlin, 
Mrs. Tobelman, C. W. Watt, E. Hacquette, Dr. Stoddart, and 
a long list of others. 

His imnortant works were hung in the far corners 
of the British Empire. He includocl names of the English no- 
bility among his patrons. Representative of his foreign 
patrons are such names as T, K. 3ryant of Junior Hall, near 
Dorking, England, of the great firm of Bryant and Ifey, match 
makers; William H. Ferguson, Broughty Ferry, Scotland; 
Egerton Leigh, Esq. , Bournemouth, England; R. Orr Ewlng, Esq., 



-^4 



Ballykinrnir. Caatle, Sterlingshli e, Scotland; Sir G-. Vv', Wolfe, 
the V/h.ite Stpr S-':eamship Builder, Pelf act, Ireland; Thomas Car- 
ter, Marlborcr.i,%"h, Me^Y Zealand; Eai-l of Durham, London; Lord 
Paulett, London, and John R. Greaves, Bombay^ India. 

Charlen Dormor Robinson vas born at Monmouth, Iv'Ia.lne, 
on July 17, 1647. His parents, Dav.1d G-. and Iferiete (Dorman) 
Robinson, were of coloiiial stock on both sides. There is a 
family tradition that his great f-randfather Robinson, who 
served in Braddoch's il -fated arnr and his g-reat grandfather 
Dorman fouf^iit tOf<etaer under Wolfe at the taking of Quebec, 
and again on opposite sides at Bunker Hill, although they 
did not knov each other. The Dormans were English arm.y 
people and the Robinsons vrerc: Puritan'^. Another of his pa- 
ternal ancestors, Dr. John Robinson, ?ras credited v;ith hav- 
ing sent the kayflc-er to the United St,-t--s. Such ancestry 
builds a bar^ ground, for Robinson's sturdy Independence of 
character. Robinson's father. Dr. David G-. Robinson, built 
the Adelphi Tlicatre on Dupont, bctx?9en Washington and Clay 
streets, the first to be constructed in San Francisco. 

Soon aftor Robinson's birth, his parents moved to 
Nevport, Vermont, a small to^-'n on Lake Memphramagog. This 
was Robinson's home of his iiifa';cy and the reason he called 
himself f. Vernontor. In 18o0, '.vren he was three years old 
his parents brcugh.t him to San Fr; ricisco. At an early age, 
the Golden Gnte '"1th its passin.-' ships, roused the young 



75 



boy's art irrpulse. Wl-ien only four or five yearn old he began 
to drav' oictures of the various craftc. As this artistic 
ability never left Robinson there is no definite time nor 
influence that dates his first ste^os toward art as a car^^er. 

EARLY TRA.IMING 

As a boy, Robinson became one of the first pupils 
of the Union G-rammar School, in tnose d.".ys the largest in 
the City of San Francisco. Here he was a\"arded a diploma 
by the Mechanics' Institute for "best specimen of Marine 
drawing in the Juvenile Department", when he was thirteen 
years old. 

The next year, in 1861, young Robinson -w^ent back 
to his early hoipe in Vermont, and in 1863 to Boston where 
he began his art education under Wlllia.^^ Bradford, the great 
Marine and Arctic painter. During 1862, ho studied under 
George Innes and IL F. H. DeHaas; rnd in 1863 painted with 
Gignoux and Cropsey, Newport, Verniont. Later he returned to 
the shores of Lake Memphramagog, and studied art under 
S. W. Griggs, a Boston painter, who passed on his interest 
in picturesque mountain scenes of oxtrene northern Vermont 
to Robinson. His work under those teachers did not last 
very long, but Robinson readily nrofitod by their painting 
methods. In his endless out door sketching Robinson was 
mainly self-t;iught. When he was only seventeen, he sold his 
first painting, a Lake Memphramagog scene. 



76 



Net long after this, younj-:; Robinson sou^jht the 
methods of another painter, Bouc'.in, under whom he studied 
from 18G6 to 1867. His studies here f?erved to strengthen 
his undeveloped artintlc principles of design and compo- 
sition. 

In th'-i year 1874, Robinson v/ent to Clinton, Iowa, 
where he lived xor a year or so. During this brief neriod, 
he met Katd Evelyr. Wright, an ovm oou^iln to Elr.er 2. Els- 
worth of Zouave fame. Shortly after they were married, on 
September 24, 1874. 

A year .later, Robinson came to San Francisco with 
his v;ife and except for a short visit xr Paris, France, 1899- 
1901, they lived in California. In 18G0 by invitation of the 
stage company operating the Big Oak Flat road, Robinson took 
his first trip to Yosenite, fulfilling a desire of many years. 
The great Valley at once took nonsesdion of him, and for a 
long period of years, up until the time of his death, he 
spent almost every su-mer there, dividing his time between 
his loved sea shore and the Sierra. 

During Robinson's sketching days in Yosenite his 
studio in the Valley vras a thrill to touricts, one of the 
sights of that "Valley of Sighs," He was so devoted to 
Yosemite thnt on many occasions he had arguments with the 
Board of Commissioners, whenever thjy tried to modify the 
original plans of the Valley as a National Park.. Every 



77 



action of the ^roup was questioned by Robinson, and any evi- 
dence of the commercial spirit in its nanagement pained him 
deeply. 

On thene controversial occasions, Robinson's views 
in the matter '^ere generally shared by such prominent men as 
Frederick Lav Olmstead, Robert Under'.?ood Johnson, J,M. Hutch- 
Ings, John Muir, and the Sierra Club, and to an extent won 
the Yosemite Commissioners to carry out some of the very re- 
forms for which Robinson contended, 

HIS EARLY W0RK3 

In response to the numerous orders from Eastern 
connoisseurs for his paintings, Robinson has had a busy life. 

In 1884, Robinson v^'ent to Yosemite to fill a large 
order for sketches of the different parts of the Valley. 
Prominent among his early paintings was his "El Caoltan". 

Shortly after the completion of his "El Capitan", 
Robinson painted a marine which surpassed all his previous 
efforts in that subject. The picture was a scene, in the 
Golden Gate, from beneath the Point Lobos rocks. His treat- 
ment of the breakers, which hurl agaiiist the rocks v/ith giant 
force, involved bold painting. 

In 1877, Robinson's "Palace of Dido" was exhibited 
in one of the private galleries of S^-n Francisco. Of this 
painting, the San Francisco Chronicle, April 15, 1877, said: 



78 



" — -It Is crude in conception, false in draw- 
ing, inharmonious in color, and, altogether, 
an effort that would not lead to the belief 
that the artist had a gr-and future before him. 
It represents the ruins of Carthage with con- 
siderable incorrect architectural detail, with 
opaque water dashing confusedly upon an unde- 
fined shore, and clouds of marvelous thickness 
and solidity obscuring an impossible distance 
and rendering a horizon impossible. 

"A yellow sunset, a long way after Turner, 
dips down into the picture, midway betvreen 
the remote distance and the foreground, in- 
tensifying the vividness of chaotic express- 
ion. The painting will attract attention from 
the originality of its conception and the 
novelty in the method of treatment. 

Not long after his "Palace of Dido", Robinson was 
again engaged on two im.portant pieces of work — "Foggy After- 
noon on the Bay", with its view of the Ifegiciene, and "Be- 
fore Sunrise off North Point", representing a group of ves- 
sels in a mist. Ther>e were completed early in 1879 and were 
on exhibition in the same year. These paintings showed deli- 
cacy of touch and an insight into nature characteristic of 
Robinson's work. His "Before Sunrise off North Point", pre- 
sents singular effects of light on cloud and water. 

During this same year, Robinson completed a sketch 
of Donner Lake, which a local patron bought and sent East as 
a Christmas gift. The sketch was made from a snowy mountain 
top, and the contrast afforded by the white and blue of the 
snow and snow shadows on the foreground and the warmer 
coloring of the middle distance produced a unique and pleas- 
ing arrangement. 



79 



In 1880, Robinson painted a scene in the Coast 
Range, on the Redwood road, during a snow squall. The fore- 
ground was a solid mass of white snow, and the prevailing 
tones were buff and purple of g-^ays. The siibject was diffi- 
cult, but the picture was gratifying. In the same year, 
Robinson attracted interest with a sr.iall view of Yosemlte 
from the Oak Flat road. It was called the "Lost G-lir.pse" 
and was veritably such; the Cathedral group anci a few drops 
of the Bridal Veil Fall being all that were visible. This 
was painted in blue tones artlntically graded in a fresh 
and pleasing manner. 

Robinson's "Sentinel" is also worth remembering. 
This is a view of the South ivall of the Valley under a our- 
ple effect. Another "Yosenlte" view is from Eagle Point, 
showing G-lacier Point and the South Dojne. Robinson also 
painted a delightful scene of "The Sierras in the Vicinity 
of Mount Dana. " 

Early in l'-85, Robinson sold his "Yosemite from 

Inspiration Point", and a "Golden Gat-?". Shortly before the 

completion of these Robinson exhibited his "Scene on the Bay*) 

a Marine piece^ which .-attracted considerable attention. Of 

this piece, the San Franciscan, September 20, 1884, said: 

"A rather sombre-looking, but otherwise very 
acceptable, piece of marine work. In this 
painting he has exceeded many former efforts 
at wave-color and breakers. 



80 



"The strip of beach In the foreground is very- 
natural, as is also the wreckage and logs lying 
high anci dry on the shore, " 

"Robinson generally gets an excellent water 
effect when he tries for it, and in this paint- 
ing he has exceeded his past efforts. " 

In 1887 Robinson painted a view of Yosenite Valley 
under a glowing sunset. This was purchased by Mrs. Charles 
McLaughlin. Another of the Valley at Twilight, was purchas- 
ed for $1000, by Lord Paulett. In this same year, Robinson 
filled an order from Colonel George Lemmon of Washington, 
D. C. for a view of the Lower Yoaemite fall. Other pic- 
tures of that year were Central American ruins, displaying 
stone idols, monuments and sundials, under an intense light; 
a number of out-of-door sketches of Yosemite, Hetch-Hetchy, 
Bloody Canyon, and some coast marines, completed the list 
of his work for that year. 

Robinson's European training was only during that 
brief time in Paris when he studied the methods of Segantini, 
the French Itester, whose technique Robinson brought back to 
San Francisco, of the early 1900' s, 

ROBINSON IN CALIFORNIA 
Shortly after Robinson's return his marine sub- 
jects began to attract popular attention. He painted end- 
less waves on the ocean beach, near the Golden Gate, in 
every phase of storm and sunshine. He portrayed in vivid 



81 



colors the tender blendlngs of nature. His delicate coloring 
glown v;lth mysterious effect. His patronage was sure as he 
made every effort ^'dthln his artistic ability to produce a 
pleasing painting of a pleasing subject. 

In 1911, he cormDleter' a startling theme of an aeri- 
al battle of the future. The picture v/as full of action. 
Overhead hung dreadnaughts of the air, below lie dread- 
naughts of the sea belching powder and flame. Shattered by 
cannon balls, two of the warships plungeo downv;ard half ob- 
scured by dense smoke from roaring guns. The sky effect, 
the black smoke from the battleship funnels, combined with 
the heavy clouds of a recent storm. Across the angry sky creep- 
ed a sanguine rainbow in a prismatic band of color, lighting 
the whole. The painting was realistic to a degree, and in 
1912 European abstract art startled New York and San Fran- 
cisco studios--but not Robinson's studio. 

His next masterpiece was a salon theme entitled, 
"The Grand Canyon", and exhibited at the Gump galleries 
where San Francisco's famous art patrons browse. 

Willie Robinson was ouslly painting for local pa- 
trons and tourists, he reached out in other directions with 
almost equal success. In 1884 and 1885, Robinson took much 
Interest in the Palette C.Tub, an organization of San Fran- 
cisco artists opposed to the San Frcincisco Art Association. 
Tavernler was its president, Robinson its secretary during 



\ 



I 



82 



most of its life. Among its members were such artists as 
Arthur Nahl, Wandesford, Kunath, Yelland, Holdredge, Joullin, 
Wores, Harring, Lattimer, Denny, Raschen, Stanton, Pages, 
Rodriguez, Pisslo, Barkhaus, and Yates. The club gave two 
of the best exhibitions assembled in San Francisco by local 
artists. Finally the club gave up the ghost, not because of 
a failure from an artistic point of vie"', nor because of fi- 
nances, as there vas money in the treasury after all obliga- 
tions were paid, but because so large a part of the art pa- 
trons of the city were Art Association members, and committed 
to the support of that organization. Robinson, however, 
stayed with the club until the end, and wps its last presi- 
dent. He counted himself fairly Independent of local art 
patronage, as then most of his pictures were sold to foreign 
buyers. Sixty-seven paintings by Robinson are owned in 
England alone. He also boasted a list of San Francisco pa- 
trons that any oalnter might be glad to knov/. 

R OBINSON'S OTHER LINES OF INTEREST 

As an illustrator, Robinson has done notable work. 
One of his best efforts in this line was done in 1891, a 
series of full oage black and '"hlte views of Kings River Can- 
yon to Illustrate Mr, John Muir's well knovm article in the 
Century. 



83 



Robinson was not only noted for his paintings and 
illustrations, but he was a versatile writer as well. Sever- 
al articles of his have been orinted in the Overland magazine. 
He wrote excellent descriptive articles and fiction, and even 
essayed verse. Robinson wrote and Illustrated the "Wawona 
Hotel", a sketch of the sights and scenery around the Mari- 
posa Big Tree Station. He also compiled a number of interest- 
ing descriptive articles on the "Redvroods" of California. 

In 1882, when the Yosenite Falls Hotel went through 
a thorough painting and renovating it was under Robinson's 
artistic guidance. However his sketches of Yosemlte, the 
High Sierras and the California coast are the best products 
of his talents and show his fine art of appreciation of na- 
ture in California, with her endless forms, moods and dra- 
matic contrasts. 

611 CLAY STREET 

The attic of the house at 611 Clay Street, is the 
oldest artist's studio in San Francisco. Here most interest- 
ing art history was made. Charles Dorman Robinson was among 
those who contributed to the good odor of paint that perme- 
ates the place. 

There were times when landscape studies did not 
sell well enough to meet Robinson's expenses. During one of 
these trying moments, Robinson agreed to paint both floor 
and skylight of the place as advance payment for lodging. 



84 



Robinson set to work, and as the last stroke of his brush 
completed the skylight he indiscreetly fell through it and 
used up his month's lodging in recovering;. After this in- 
cident, which happeneri in 1895, Robinson left the ramshackle 
old studio at 611 Clay Street and went to Europe in 1899 and 
stayed there up until 1901. While in Paris, Robinson stud- 
led under Boudin, also the methods of Segantini (1900). 
The record of this incident was found on the historic door 
of the place, carefully dated. The do^r leads from the 
front studio into a tiny dark pas'^age and on its oanes the 
names and years are recorded. Beginning with "Arriola, 1865" 
the record tells of such tenants as Denny and Deakin, Charles 
Rollo Peters and Hall, until its scratches say, "Robinson 
painted the floor, 1895", 

Y05EMITE PANORAMA 

Few individuals have done so much to make the great 
Yosem.ite Valley known to the world than has Robinson. 

Over a hundred pretentious easel paintings of 
Yosemite subjects were made and sold by him in the Valley 
itself, while numberless other paintings and sketches, and 
illustrated articles of Yosemite came from years spent in 
its splendor. The greatest single work of his life, however, 
was the painting of the "Yosemite Panorama", The story of 



85 



this wonderful piece of work — how it haunted him for years, 
until opportunity forced his great scheme into execution, 
how the work was done and the details of it--v;ere all told 
by Robinson himself in an article which appeared in the 
Overland for September 1893. Extracts from the article 
follows 



" Early one morning in July 1883, armed 

with a sketch book and a pencil c^r two, I 
found myself at the point where the present 
stage road and the old lilaripcsa Trail diverge 
and with the rattle of departing wheels, 
sounding cheerily in the clear morning air, 
I betook myself on my exploring trip, 

"Some ten minutes walk toward the north 
brought me in view of the famous Yosemlte 
features, and shortly after, coming out from 
under cover of the forest, I stood upon a rag- 
ged and sheer precipice, and gazed dovm, be- 
yond, and far avray, upon the most awful and 
terrific sweep of sublimity that ever eyes 
had beheld, 

"At my left rose in its unapproachable majestjj 
the El Capitan, Following its dome-like sum- 
mit towards the north and west the wall gradu- 
ally became less vertical, until it was a 
shattered mass of granite debris, sprinkled 
all over with trees and shrubbery too far be- 
yond and below to recognize their individual 
forms. Directly ooposite the El Capitan rose 
the massive yet elegant forms of the great 
Cathedral group, over whose walls from a V- 
shaped ravine fell in a gracefully swaying and 
pendulous mass of spray and vapor, the Bridal 

Veil Falls, Beyond were all of the well 

known rock features o'f the Valley, The Three 
Brothers, Eagle Point, North Dome, Mt. Watkins, 
Cloud's Rest, Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, and 
beyond all the faint outlines of the higher 
Sierras, 



I 



86 



"„^„.From that time it becaine a cherished de- 
sire "7ith me to show to at least a portion of 
the vorld, in however, faint a degree, none of 
the teauty I had that day s'^'-en. 

"Unavoldatle circumstanceB mede it imr^ossible 
for me to engage in an enterpi'ise of thiB mag- 
nitude for nearly ten years after having first 
seen this sublime sight. Efforts on my part 
were unsuccessful owing to the reluctance of 
California capital of late years to enter into 
such an enterprise, however, in Stockton in 
1892 a company of gentlemen '^^ho vrere Impressed 
with the idea were willing to put forth the 
needed money, and in September 1892, I was on 
my way to my home in Yosenuits, to carry out my 
long cherished idea. 

" The canvas took us a v/eek to stretch and 

hang, and its dimensions are fifty feet in 
width and three hundred and eighty feet in 
length, weighing two tons without paint on it, 
we have at this time used nearly three tons of 
color on it making a total weight of some five 
tons. 

"After the long and tedious job of sizing and 
ground coloring was laid, came the nice affair 
of transcribing the design in outline. 

"The labor upon the Yo Semite Panorama is also 
severer than upon most undertakings of this 
nature, for usually the drawing does not ex- 
tend farther than half the height of the can- 
vas, the balance being usually directed to sky 
of the simplest tints, whereas upon the Yosem- 
ite the entire canvas being portraiture to 
within some ten feet from the top, the detail 
painting is enormous." 



THE 5AH FRANCISCO FIRE OF 1906 
When very few of the artists in San Francisco felt 
impelled to paint pictures of "the fire", or the ruins, Rob- 
inson was again one of the first in the field. His large 



87 



picture of "The Fire" was sent to St. Louis in 1907 for ex- 
hibition, and subsequently to the Jamestown exhibition of 
the same year. Previous to these exhibitions it was exhib- 
ited in Oakland where it won initial honors. 

This painting was highly pleasing in color and 
Robinson utilized splendid technical ability to produce a 
very graphic scene. It attracted considerable attention at 
its initial showing and was subsequently exhibited in the 
principal cities of the United States. 

Because the canvas measured twelve by thirty 
feet, it was painted in Los Angeles, as there was no large 
studio left available in devastated San Francisco. All 
during the progress of the fire Robinson had ^^orked day and 
night and obtained a large number of sketches in color and 
pencil, to use in his final enormous pictured record of the 
burning city. His chosen view was from the side of Twin 
Peaks about level with the Burnham bungalow and an eighth 
of a mile south. The "moment" was about midnight on Wednes- 
day when the fire was at its height. Market Street extends 
almost directly in front of the observer. It was only by 
using a very large canvas that the detail of the enormous 
area shown could be adequately conveyed. There are more 
than four miles of flame stretching almost from side to 
side of the picture. The upper dome of the smoke cloud 
passed beyond the observer's view and so ?/as not shown. 



88 



The smoke cloud was measured and found to be at least four 
miles high. 

From the elevation selected, the observer on Twin 
Peaks looks down upon the burning city, and even though it 
was night, objects all about show dimly in the picture. In 
the distance, along the sky line, the principal buildings 
could be dimly seen through the haze of smoke and flame. 
The field of the fire occupied the center of the picture and 
could be seen vividly beyond the dark brown hillside of the 
foreground. There was no suggestion of life close by, but 
about a half a mile off small houses were visible and there 
seemed to be relief camps here and there. All this was veil- 
ed in an opacity of smoke and recurrent reflections from 
the fire beyond. 

The color scheme of the picture was gray, yellow, 
and brown. The flames were a very light yellow where they 
rose from the ground and as they mingled with the smoke took 
on a red glare that spread over a large part of the smoke 
field of the canvas. The upper smoke canopy that appeared 
to hang over the burning city was a cold gray. The fore- 
ground color was a v^'ide range of browns and brown-greens. 
All through the picture the prismatic colors appeared and 
gave variety and distinction to the different parts. 

The burning of San Francisco as a great event of 
history will never be forgotten; so to Robinson credit is 



89 



given for being the first to perpetuate in canvas that un- 
fortunate catastrophe. 

ROBINSON'S PHILOSOPHY OF WORK 

Whenever an Interested student of art came to Rob- 
inson for advice, he always told them to forget all they had 
learned, and to paint only what they see and feel. This, in 
a nutshell, is the keynote of Robinson's own work. No in- 
structor can claim him as a pupil or imitator, for his pic- 
tures show, even on the most casual examination^ that he was 
unmoved by current art fads, and painted vfhat he saw and 
loved. 

The chief value of Robinson's work is his coloring 
and his subtle blending of the shades that give atmosphere 
and depth to a picture. Some of his sunset skies palpitate 
with living light, and some seem to go back from the frame, 
to unmeasured depths. 

Three of his paintings that are worth remembering 
from the standpoint of color and depth are: 

A Yosemite view looking down the Valley toward El 
Capitan, v/ith the evening light just breaking through the 
storm clouds that hang heavy about the great cliffs. The 
warm light suffuses the whole picture with its glow, and the 
massive bulk of El Capitan above remains cold, grand, and 
majestic, as it does in the real landscape. 



90 



Another is a sunset on the North Beach, a reach of 
sand on which the ground swell of the Pacific is sending its 
long rollers, their foamy faces purple against the clear 
saffron light of the sky and reflected on the beach. In the 
middle lies the great black bulk of a stranded whale, the 
one point of dark color in the whole glowing picture. To 
Robinson this stranded monster typifies the ;7iighty strength 
of the ocean, and he vvaxes poetic in speaking of it, recog- 
nizing all the tine, perhaps, the ease with v/hich that nar- 
row line beyond the subline might be overstepped in such a 
subject. 

Yet another is a great rock off the coast near 
Mazatlan. The cliff towers in the middle distance and the 
foreground shows a tumbling mass of translucent green waves 
that seem to move before your eyes; "for Robinson's painted 
water, whether in motion or at rest, is always water, never 
woolly, never oily." His '-'ork is sharp and characteristic. 

ROBINSON. Ii/IAN AND PAII^^TER 

Faithful to nature, Robinson was a conscientious 
worker and a good artist. During his life, Robinson made 
occasional remarks such as the follovang: "It takes a crank 
to move the world, and I would rather be a crank than a 
nonentity. " 



91 



In the course of his life, Robinson painted the 
Ycsemlte Valley as a, labor of love, being the most constant 
of the artists in his residence there. His paintings, 
which now stand as living records of the Valley and the man 
who painted then, are to be found in art galleries all over 
the world. 

Robinsonfe independence of the local and the ephem- 
eral in art made him slow In reaping success, but the best 
critics agree on the value of his work. As a colorist, he 
distinguished hi-^iself. The close study of years, inspired 
by an intense love for the grand things of nature, and an 
absolute independence of all influences^ brought him to na- 
ture as the greatest teacher of art. This enabled him to 
paint in his v^ay, the majestic Sierra scenery and the sweep 
of ocean billows; so that his v^orks follow the "grand 
style" canvases of the early day landscape painters, such as 
William Keith, "niomas Hill, Albert Bierstadt, and others. 

After a fulsome life, when Robinson was eighty-six, 
he died on May 8, 1933, in his home in San Rafael. His end 
was the culmination of a long illness which began from a 
fall he suffered years before in San Francisco. 

Many of his best canvases now rest in important 
private galleries of American connoisseurs. Several are to 
be found in the Bohemian Club collection, San Francisco; one 



92 



was presented to Queen Victoria; another hangs in the palace 
of the viceroy of India; and yet another is in the palace of 
the King of Slam, Such far flung patronage brings a reali- 
zation of Robinson's share In placing the beauty of Califor- 
nia before the world, in an era vhen "hand painted scenery" 
and dramatic pictures were well appreciated. 



93 



CHARLES DORI.IAN ROBINSOx^J 

REPRESENTATIVE 

WORKS 



Chrysanthemums 

Redwood Grove 

Mt. Taraelpals 

S. E. Storm Off Seal Rocks 

Off the Farallone Islands 

Moonlight on the Beach 

Marine 

A Monterey Wave 

Moonlight, Yosemite 

Monterey Bay 

The Wet Sands 

Yosemite 

Rocky Coast 

U, S. Fleet Enters Golden Gate 

Yosemite Panorama 

The Palace of Dido 

Nevada Falls 

The Grand Canyon of Arizona 

Lake Louise 

Illllouette Falls, Yosemite Valley 

Fishing Boats, Twilight 

Evening on the Bay 

Crest of the Sierras 

Sierra Nevada 

Sentinel Pines 

The Yosemite Falls 

Oakland, Looking Toward the Golden Gate 

Oakland HarDor 

Mt. Diablo 

Beach and Seal Rocks at the Cliff House 

Old Wharf, Brig at Sacramento 

A Bit of Mendocino Coast 

Surf Craters, Mendocino Coast 

Afternoon on the Mendocino Coast 

Venice — Pishing Boats in the Lagoons — Sunset 

Santa Maria de la Salute,' Venice 

Grand Canal, Venice 

Afternoon on the Bay — Off Goat Island 

Breaking Gale at Seal Rocks 

San Francisco — From the Bay 

Venice — The Lagoons — Morning 

Foggy Sunrise at Farallones 



94 



PAINTINGS IN PERIvIANEHT COLLECTIONS: 

De Young Museum, San Francisco 
The G-rand Canyon of Arizona 
Lake Louise 

San Francisco Museum of Art 

Redwood Grove (oil) — Sloss bequest 

Mount Tamalpais (oil) — Sloss bequest 

S. E. Storm Off Seal Rocks (oil) — Sloss bequest 

Off the Farallone Islands (oil) — Sloss bequest 

Moonlight on the Beach (oil) — Sloss bequest 

Oakland Art Gallery 
The Wet Sands 

Bohemian Club, San Francisco 
Yosemlte (oil) 
Rocky Coast (oil) 

U. S. Fleet Enters Golden Gate (oil) 
Nevada Falls 



EXHIBITIONS! 



San Francisco Art Association, Winter, 1895 

San Francisco Art Association, Spring Exhibition, 

iJIarch 20-April 16, 1905 
San Francisco Art Association, 1916 
Mldv/inter International Exposition, San Francisco, 

1694 
Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, 1896 
Second Exhibition, Golden Gate Park Museum, San 

Francisco, 1916 
First Exhibition, Golden Gate Park Museum, San 

Francisco. 1915 



CLUBS AND AWARDS: 



Clubs-- 

San Francisco Art Association, 1877-1933 
Bohem.ian Club 
Palette Club 

Awards — 

First Diploma, Mechanics' Fair, San Francisco, 1860 
Money Award, Sacramento State Agricultural Society, 

1878 
Gold Medal, Sacramento State Agricultural Society, 

1903 



il 



95 



CHARLES DOPIvIAM ROBINSON 
BI3LI0G-HAPHy 

Overland New Series, Vol, 27--page 34 

Overland, January 1896 

The Argonaut, August 23, 1884 

Yosemlte Artists, page 199 

San Francisco Chronicle, October 8, 1899 

Mariposa Gazette, September 16, 1882 

Who's Who, 1920-1921 

The San Franciscan, August 23, 1884 — 
Vol, 11, page 4 

The Overland, September 1893 

San Francisco Chronicle, April 15, 1877 

Ban Francisco Call, August 12, 1906, page 27 

Sail Francisco Examiner, May 9, 1933 
Column 8, page 7 



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